You may think that lottery operators and regulators want as many people as possible to spend as much money as possible in purchasing lottery tickets and products.
You would be right in that assumption to a certain point. But contrary to the general view that lottery operators are out to rip off players and get people hooked on playing the lottery, the truth is quite the opposite.
Although the gaming industry does want to make as much money as possible, it is not in their best interest to have players who have a gambling problem to be purchasing tickets.
The fact is, most regulators and operators really do want to prevent and stop gambling addiction. One obvious reason for this is the negative publicity that such issues bring to the gaming industry.
Another is that nobody is looking to make someone spend money they don’t have, or create any financial hardship or other problems with players or their friends and family just to make a buck.
The gaming industry makes lots of money through odds and probabilities that always strongly favour the operator.
In no way do they need players who spend more than they can afford to keep the income stream going.
For instance, with slot machines, an average of 85 percent of money played on a machine in paid back to players through small to large wins and the occasional jackpot.
The operator keeps 15 percent as profit. But that little 15 percent can add up to tens of millions of dollars.
There are many reasons why people may develop an issue with gambling, including lotteries. Obsessive-Compulsive Behaviour, mood disorders, other addiction issues, are major factors.
Having a family history of problem gambling, suffering from mental health issues, and the belief in the myths and misconceptions about lotteries such as patterns, ink weight on the balls, and many other beliefs also contribute to problem gambling.
In response to try to prevent and treat problem gambling, most jurisdiction mandate that operators create and put into place a proactive plan in promoting responsible gambling.
This may involve making videos to be played throughout a casino or bingo hall, brochures available at all entrances and exits of gaming venues, television, radio, and newspaper ads to bring the responsible gambling message to the masses, and other media placed at retailers and online.
It may also include educational material that goes into depth on the odds of winning prizes, how the game is played (for instance, how slot machines or lottery software determine results from a Random Number Generator,) or the checks and balances in place to ensure every gaming result is 100 percent honest, true, and free from influence.
All of this material is designed to let lottery (and other) players make an informed choice of the games they would like to play, how to play the game, and checking and redeeming the ticket.
Material itself is written and designed to be clear, straightforward with plain language, and present only factual information.
Many responsible gambling programs also present material that provides expert advice, and some even have tools (such as online interactive education, or access to the player’s account settings) that enable the player to set a gaming budget and limit to keep their gambling fun and entertaining.
There may also be, prominently displayed, a phone number or website for players to call or visit if they or their family and friends find the gambling experience no longer fun but frustrating.
If you find yourself spending more money on lottery tickets than you used to, becoming more frustrated when you check your ticket and find it is not a winner, become obsessed with the lottery, or constantly checking books and software that promise strategies and tricks to win the lottery, you may be heading towards the problem gambling path.
Slow down, back away, and refocus your energy in another way.
Buying your ticket should be as simple as buying it, checking it knowing your odds of winning are extremely low, and throwing the ticket away as it will probably be a non-winner.
If it is a winner, of a free ticket or a ten million dollar prize, consider yourself lucky, collect your prize, and move on.
Buy your ticket for the next draw as casually as you buy your groceries. This way, you will always have a chance at winning, but won’t become entangled in having to win.