Mental Gymnastics: 3 Ways People Convince Themselves That They Will Win the Lottery

You gotta be in it to win it, right?

There’s just one problem — When it comes to the lottery, being “in it” implies that you actually have a good shot of winning it. But you don’t. Your odds of winning the Mega Millions Jackpot are one in 302,575,350. You are more likely to win an Oscar award than the lottery…better start rehearsing for that audition!

Whether it’s casino gambling in AC or lottery tickets in Trenton, problem gamblers often become so obsessed with beating the odds that it harms their well-being. Let’s take a closer look at three ways people convince themselves that they will win the lottery jackpot.

Blind Optimism

Low-risk, high-reward scenarios are very appealing. But when someone who is in debt and struggling to support their family buys ten lottery tickets per week, that’s not very low-risk now, is it? Buying a single two-dollar lottery ticket may seem like a low-risk investment — and it is, for the most part — but once it becomes a regular habit, the risk increases more and more with each lottery entry. What many problem gamblers in-the-making don’t recognize is that they are risking much more than two dollars when they play the lottery irresponsibly.

The Gambler’s Fallacy

Despite what many folks with gambling disorders believe, your past outcomes have absolutely no impact on your future results. Some people think their chances of winning the lottery increase each time they lose the lottery. But there’s simply no science to support that notion, and economists agree that it’s a bogus assumption. Each lottery entry gives you the same one in 302,575,350 chances of winning.

Tempered Expectations

Problem gamblers keep buying lottery tickets despite their low odds and consistent losses because their expectations are already low; they are unlikely to be disappointed. Unlike sports gambling in Atlantic City, which many believe is skill-based, nothing can occur before a lottery drawing that will increase or decrease your odds of winning. A heavy favorite could lose a sports match easily if their star player has a freak accident minutes before game time. Or, you may believe that you have insider-information about a matchup that other bettors aren’t considering — so betting on an underdog seems like a skill-based, smart move for some.

With the lottery, the odds are always the same, and they are always astronomically low. Therefore, there is seemingly no shame or heartbreak in losing the lottery, unlike sports betting.

If somebody you love is struggling with disordered gambling, dial 800-GAMBLER to reach our 24-hour helpline, and we can provide the support, treatment, and hope needed to beat this.


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