Why Playing The Powerball Gives You Such A Thrill

Whenever I buy a Powerball ticket, I leave the liquor store floating on a cloud of dreams and wishes, suspended in a state of bliss as I imagine how I’m going to spend my millions. Of course, when the winning numbers are called later on that week, all of those hopes comes crashing down, and I’m the same slightly deluded lady I always was — just a few dollars lighter.

Gambling expert Lori Rugle calls this dreamy time-space between purchasing a ticket and hearing the winning numbers the “fantasy world of the problem gambler.” It’s a time and space so pleasurable and enticing that people with a gambling disorder want to stay in it as long as possible, which is what motivates them to buy even more lottery tickets.

They will even prefer the “fantasy world” to a reality in which they do manage to win a substantial amount of money, she said. With that prize money comes pressure, stress, responsibility and decisions. An uncalled lottery ticket, on the other hand, is pure promise, hope and anticipation.

“That fantasy place is the perfect reality — I’m a beautiful person, everyone loves me, there aren’t any problems, there aren’t any stressors, I’m not vulnerable and all my needs are met,” said Rugle, program director at the Maryland Center of Excellence on Problem Gambling at the University of Maryland Medical School.

“Even if I win the $1.5 billion, it’s not as perfect as that place in between, where we’d all like to live, where everybody is beautiful and there aren’t pressures and decisions.”

Of course, most Powerball players know that they’re probably not going to win the jackpot — or anything, for that matter. As it stands, the current odds for Wednesday night’s $1.5 billion Powerball drawing are about one in 292 million. As —> Read More