LOTTERY

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - LOCAL -

over­all odds of win­ning any prize is one in 2.7.

Gary Miller, a spokesman for the Penn­syl­va­nia Lottery, said the game is the new­est in in­stant games that are of­fered once a month.

“This is the high­est prized in­stant game we of­fer, and it will re­main on sale in­def­i­nitely,” he said. “Th­ese games per­form very well and our play­ers are very re­cep­tive to this price point. We’re of­fer­ing some­thing for ev­ery­one’s taste.”

Miller said it’s im­por­tant to con­tin­u­ally of­fer new games.

“We have a leg­isla­tive man­date to gen­er­ate fund­ing for older Penn­syl­va­ni­ans,” he said. “In the last two fis­cal years, we gen­er­ated $1 bil­lion each year and we are very proud of that.”

While some peo­ple may scratch their heads won­der­ing who would pay $30 for a scratch-off lottery ticket, local ther­a­pists who treat peo­ple for gam­bling ad­dic­tion fear it could cre­ate prob­lems with peo­ple who play the lottery of­ten.

“Peo­ple with gam­bling ad­dic­tions, you can keep rais­ing the price like with this $30 card, and as long as they can jus­tify it in their mind, there is no limit to what they would be will­ing to bet, with the as­sump­tion that the pay­off will be bet­ter,” said Seth Rosen­berg, a li­censed pro­fes­sional coun­selor with of­fices in West Ch­ester. “It’s like with the Powerball jack­pot gets high, peo­ple have no prob­lem lay­ing out $20 be­cause the idea that $300 mil­lion is some­how bet­ter than $100 mil­lion. The risk to re­ward is greater with a $30 scratch-off ticket.”

Matt Mau­riello, a West Ch­ester li­censed pro­fes­sional coun­selor and li­censed be­hav­ioral spe­cial­ist who spe­cial­izes in deal­ing with prob­lem gam­blers, agrees.

“Ul­ti­mately, it is the ex­cite­ment of the game, and the risk­ing of money,” he said. “One thing about the lottery I find fas­ci­nat­ing is that most par­ents would frown on giv­ing their kids a bot­tle of al­co­hol or tobacco in their Christ­mas stock­ing, but are OK with giv­ing them lottery tick­ets. Peo­ple just don’t rec­og­nize the risk (of fu­ture gam­bling ad­dic­tion) that comes along with the lottery.”

Mau­riello said he had a client who ditched his com­pany- spon­sored re­tire­ment plan when the mar­ket crashed in 2008, and in­vested that money in lottery tick­ets. Un­for­tu­nately, it didn’t work out for him.

“More than nine chances out of 10, if you play, your money is gone,” he said. “For folks that have gam­bling prob­lems, it’s not so much the re­ward, it’s the an­tic­i­pa­tion and the risk.” Hil­ton agrees. “It’s al­ways ex­cit­ing when you see your num­ber match and you scratch the bot­tom part and see how much you won,” he said.

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