When most people hear the words “gambling disorder,” they think of casino gambling in AC. But as far as disordered gambling goes, scratch-off lottery tickets belong in a league of their own. The problem with scratch-offs is that they provide disordered gamblers with a source of instant gratification. Traditional lottery games, like the Powerball and Megamillions, are only drawn twice a week, but scratch-offs are available seven days a week, and you can play them over and over until you win big or lose everything. This creates a potentially dangerous situation for many disordered gamblers who have trouble playing the lottery responsibly.
People Remember Wins More Than Losses
One of the biggest problems with scratch-off lottery tickets is the fact that they provide lots of small winners, which tease disordered gamblers and draw them in to keep playing. A losing two-dollar scratch-off is very forgettable — it was just two dollars, who cares? But when you win $100 on a two-dollar scratch-off, you get a rush of joy that you are likely to remember for a long time — after all, you made $98 off a two-dollar investment!
Chasing the Jackpot
Many disordered gamblers believe that the more scratch-offs they lose, the closer they are getting to the big winner. The logic goes something like this: “I lost on ten crossword scratch-offs in a row, surely the big winner is coming up soon.” But in reality, when problem gamblers do this, they are simply making the situation worse for themselves and increasing their risk of losing everything.
Do You Really Need to Play Mini Games?
Many people don’t realize this, but you don’t have to play the scratch-off mini-games to see if you’ve got a winning ticket. You can simply scratch the bottom of the ticket to reveal the barcode, and scan it to see if you’ve won right away. So, why doesn’t everyone do this? After all, the point of a lottery ticket is to hopefully turn a small investment into a big jackpot — why waste time playing a game? Because the games are fun, and they can lead you to believe that you were close to winning by making it appear like you were just “one number away.” But the prize distribution and number of winners are determined well before the tickets are printed, so there’s no such thing as “almost winning” a scratch-off ticket.
Does someone you love struggle with disordered gambling? Whether your teen is gambling in Atlantic City, or your spouse struggles with scratch-off lotto tickets, you can dial 800-Gambler today to reach our 24-hour helpline & get the support, treatment, and hope you need to overcome this. Don’t hesitate — call now.