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Legal State Lotteries Addictive Like Crack Cocaine

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States that have established lotteries are most likely the single largest enabler of gambling addiction. More States are coming to rely heavily on income generated by lotteries to offset deficits and growth, or to reduce spending of public monies on certified programs such as education, and senior services.

The income generated by the lotteries come largely from the people that can least afford to spend money on them. The States play to those people by offering enticing games with large payouts for the relatively few that may win, and they are always seeking ways to increase revenues by targeting the same people they purportedly are trying to assist.

Comes now, the State of Texas is taking it to the the next level by offering not only $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $25, and $30 tickets, they are now offering a $50 scratch-off with the top prize of $5 million.

A State Senator of Texas, Eliot Shapleigh said, "Scratch-off tickets are to the lottery what crack is to cocaine."

Massachusetts council on Compulsive Gambling spokeswoman Margot Cahoon said that a third of all calls received on the state's 24 hour gambling addiction hot line come from lottery players.

While many states are looking to increase their revenue from lotteries, a government report out of Florida suggested that the introduction of video lottery terminals could raise more than $1 billion a year for the state. The report also acknowledged that these games "are considered to be more addictive than traditional lottery games and could contribute to a problem of pathological gambling." No decisions have been made on whether Florida will try to implement these machines.

A demographic report that is required by law in Texas showed just who is playing the lottery. the results clearly show that those with less education, making less money annually, spend more on lottery tickets.

In 2006, according to a University of North Texas survey commissioned by state lottery officials, the typical black player spent $70 a month on the lottery, compared with $47 for Hispanics and $20 for whites. Scratch-offs showed an even larger degree of imbalance. Players with a high school degree or less typically buy $20 a month worth of scratch-off tickets, compared with $10 for college graduates. Similarly, players with an annual income of less than $12,000 spent 33 percent more a month than those with incomes above $100,000.

If you, or someone you know has a problem with lottery or other forms of gambling, we urge you to call the National Council on Problem Gambling at 1-800-522-4700 where they will help you get the help you need.

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