CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — As Saturday night's Powerball jackpot climbs to $1.5 Billion, experts want to make sure your dream of winning big doesn't turn into a problem.
Let's face it, the bright colors and flashy signs make it easy to get drawn into a fantasy of winning the lottery. Many people even plan out what they'd do if they go their hands on a winning ticket.
Corpus Christi local, Joe Diaz said, "I would share it, share it with people that really need it."
"Of course the church comes first, so we would help with our church and then pay off all our bills, and help our children and grandchildren." said Martha Ruiz, a resident from Portland.
Many people play with good intentions. However, some people believe there is a dark side of the lottery behind the dreams and pretty flashing signs.
"I want to emphasize, doing it recreationally when it's within control doesn't make it a problem but there are predatory practices such as making it available," said Chris Leeth an Assistant Professor of Counseling at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.
He said that there's lots of motivation that builds you up and makes you think, "well what about me?"
Leeth adds that the biggest thing that he sees is the accessibility that is put up in low socioeconomic districts.
"But we don't give the accompanying support. There are less resources to help people if they have a problem", he said.
Critics fear that easy access to lottery tickets could lead to gambling addiction.
However, Leeth said if you buy a lottery ticket once or if you buy one regularly within your means you shouldn't worry. He said if it is not affecting your job, family, relationships, or finances you should be okay.
"Instant onset a problem of gambling is exceedingly rare. I don't want to demonize it but keep track of what you're doing, where your money's going, and how much time and money is being spent on it." Leeth added.
According to Lottery Codex, signs of lottery addiction include:
- Pursuing the Lottery at the expense of your savings
- Accumulating debts as a result of lottery gambling
- Developing the habit of lying
- Resorting to theft and fraud
- Being stuck in a vicious cycle
- Being too preoccupied with lottery gambling
- Continuing to play the lottery despite the desire to stop.