The Margin: The Mega Millions jackpot is now $785 million, but this man warns that playing the lottery can become an addiction

by | Jan 2, 2023 | Stock Market

The Mega Millions jackpot has climbed to $785 million, making it the rare lottery prize to pass the half-billion dollar mark. The next drawing is set for Tuesday night. But for Adam Osmond, any jackpot fervor only serves as a reminder of the dark side of lotteries.

Osmond, a Connecticut resident, gave up buying lottery tickets more than a decade ago after losing around $1 million on various games, be they scratch-offs or drawings. He told MarketWatch that his addiction cost him his business (he owned two gas stations), his home and nearly any semblance of a normal life. “When you talk about hitting bottom, I hit the worst of bottom,” said Osmond, who sought treatment for his addiction. Today, he works as an accountant for Connecticut’s housing department and runs marathons and other races in his free time. Osmond’s story may be an extreme one, but it’s not entirely unique. Experts say that as state lotteries have surged in popularity — combined sales have grown from around $59 billion in 2010 to nearly $90 billion in 2020 — so have the number of Americans who are addicted to playing the games. The problem is only compounded when there’s a big jackpot, experts add. Such events inevitably result in lots of news coverage and feed the idea that playing the lottery is a fun, safe pastime. And that’s in spite of the fact the odds of winning the top Mega Millions prize is 1 in 302,575,350, meaning you have a greater chance of becoming a movie star or being killed by a bee sting. As Americans are enticed to buy tickets with the possibilit …

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