Powerball has high stakes for problem gamblers - Tucson News Now

Powerball has high stakes for problem gamblers

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Participating in the Powerball drawing may have given you a little rush. But, for problem gamblers the lottery is a high stakes game that negatively impacts their lives.

This afternoon, many Quik Trip customers requested a Powerball ticket in addition to whatever they were buying. But, where do you draw the line between playful participation and a real problem?

A couple dollars here and a hundred there. Customers were digging deep into their pockets for the chance to win big.

"If you buy too little then you don't feel like you're trying and if you buy too much then you feel kind of silly," said Anthony Romero. 

"I'm pretty sure anybody can afford to buy at least one ticket," said Nelson Soto. 

"When you're buying a ticket you're still thinking maybe the next one is going to be the good one," said Catalina Christophe with Camino Real Recovery. She has been treating gambling addicts for years.

She says crossing the line from casual player to problem gambler can happen without you even noticing.

"You just go and play and all of a sudden they feel this comfort, they just forget everything."

Christophe says this differs from the action gambler, someone who needs the continual stimulation, the rush of betting it all.

"I actually used to work at a Conoco and there was a lady who bought five six hundred dollars worth of scratchers all the time, once a week every pay day," said Shawn Marshall. 

While most people can recognize bad behavior, treating an addiction to ticket gambling is not easy.

"I wish that people would say I'm going to stop and not going to do it, but when you buy a little two dollars three dollars, you feel like it's not a big deal."

Christophe says the only way to fix the problem is by urging her clients to cut down.

If you want to speak with someone from the Arizona Office of Problem Gambling, call: 1-800-NEXT-STEP. 

Copyright 2012 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved. 

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