My mother was a gambler. She came by it naturally, because her father was a gambler, too.
Horse races — be it the nighttime harness or daytime sloppy track ones — I know the lingo. When the riverboats came nearby Illinois, with their minimum of $100-increment dispensing ATMs and mortgage-your-house Las Vegas casino style options conveniently located inside, it grew worse.
That’s why I felt trepidation trying to join the Illinoisans who’ve plunked down at least $425,000 worth of tickets that have been sold online, at last count from Thursday evening, reports the Indy Star.
That and the fact that I no longer live in Illinois — but technically, I still have an address there, so if I would’ve hit up MyIllinoisLottery.com (website currently down for maintenance) and put my dollars into the kitty with the rest of the hopefuls, it might’ve been all good.
But I didn’t. And others aren’t either — at least not as many as the 1 million online customers that research has shown could be out there, willing to buy their lottery tickets online instead of at their local convenience stores, reports ABC News. Comparatively, Thursday’s Illinois retail sales topped $3.2 million.
(Thank God I couldn’t find an affiliate or referral program for the online lottery sales. But no temptation is too great... I must remember.)
Even with my family history of gambling, and seeing firsthand some of the loneliness and sadness a gambling addiction can cause both the addict and their families, it is tempting to plunk down a dollar or two and dream, which are the fears of gambling opponents.
Anita Bedell, of Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems, explains the danger of online sales being so readily available and tempting to anyone with a debit or credit card number and Internet access this way:
“This is the first expansion. The next expansion will be the scratch-off tickets. Once people get scratch-off tickets, there is no stopping. This is opening a Pandora’s box,” Bedell said.
And yet, the Mega Millions has hit a world record of $640 million, whilst this salivating reporter was quite surprised to learn that the Illinois Lottery has a Visa debit card that winners can load their winnings onto and use it anywhere in the world that accepts Visa.
This on the same day we’ve learned how a “massive” credit card breach may have exposed more than 10 million credit and debit card numbers.
Oy vey. Does it feel like the end of the world to anyone else, yet?
Anyway, if you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537).