Record Lottery Jackpot Presents Potential Risks For Problem Gamblers

STATE — The Mega Millions jackpot has now grown to over $500 million, making it the largest in lottery history. For most players, the big jackpot adds to the excitement and justifies the purchase of one or two tickets for the next drawing on March 30. The odds of winning are astronomical, but for the cost of a $1 ticket, most players have little to lose.

For those at risk of problem gambling, however, the ever-increasing jackpot could be just enough to push them over the edge. The Council on Compulsive Gambling of NJ (CCGNJ) would like to call attention to some behaviors that could be red flags – indications of a developing gambling problem.

These include:

  • Playing with money intended for household expenses or other purposes
  • Spending more than intended or more than you can afford
  • Borrowing money to play and hoping to pay it back out of winnings
  • Trying to win back money lost in previous games or in other forms of gambling
  • Spending more and more time gambling or thinking about gambling

According to Donald Weinbaum, executive director of CCGNJ, “Our message is that there is help and hope for anyone over their heads as a result of gambling, whether it’s related to lottery or to any other form of gambling. We urge anyone who thinks that they or someone they know might have a gambling problem to call our 1-800-GAMBLER® helpline to learn more.” Weinbaum adds, “About 15 percent of calls to our helpline are related to lottery gambling, and the proportion has increased steadily in recent years.”

The 1-800-GAMBLER® helpline is free and confidential, and it is available 24 hours a day throughout much of the U.S. CCGNJ also offers live chat through its web site during business hours. Numerous recovery resources and informational materials are also available from this web site.

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