With Record Lotto Jackpot Looming, Gambling Treatment Group Urges Caution

$700M Powerball Drawing Largest In U.S. History

AP Photo/Nati Harnik

The head of the Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling wants to remind people that the lottery is a form of gambling, especially in light of the record-setting $700 million Powerball jackpot that she said may prove too tempting for some.

The chance of winning that grand prize — the biggest in U.S. history — in Saturday’s drawing is about 1 in 292 million, according to Powerball.

Rose Gruber, executive director of the Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling said the dollar amount is tempting, but cautioned people to pay attention to what they, and their family members, are spending on tickets.

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“If you’ve always bet on the lottery once a week and buy $2 of tickets, then all of a sudden some weeks you’re buying 20 because you know the lottery’s up there, you want to pay attention to that,” Gruber said. “Because when you start betting more money that’s the first sign something might be changing.”

In the past with big jackpots, she said her group has heard from people who get in too deep with losing tickets.

“People literally wiping out their savings accounts, several thousands of dollars thinking, ‘I’m going to buy all these tickets and it increases my odds,’” said Gruber. “Bottom line is, a ticket is a ticket.”