Texas gambling addiction rises months into the pandemic

Both tickets matched the five white balls -- 01-05-09-10-23 -- and each brought Samir Mazahem a separate $1 million prize.(Source: AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Updated: Nov. 24, 2020 at 5:52 PM CST

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Texas gambling addiction is increasing as the pandemic continues.

The Executive Director of a statewide gamblers anonymous hotline says there are more calls lately for addiction to online gambling or playing the lottery.

“Gambling is a form of entertainment, but it’s not meant to relieve pressure and to make money or to solve a financial issue,” said Janet Miller, the executive director for the Louisiana Association on Compulsive Gambling.

70 percent of her callers are trying to solve that financial issue with gambling.

“People are concerned about their jobs, legitimately there are places closing down, may never reopen, even after the pandemic, concerned about their livelihood careers changing, and they spent of lot of time and education to get there and it’s all different,” said Miller.

Miller says these financial concerns are leading to the next biggest reason people are asking for help; marital concerns.

“When you have such a high-level stress with financial fears and concerns and your married, that’s creating a very difficult situation,” said Miller

Callers also say their gambling due to their fear of getting COVID-19 and the concern over their mental health.

A Potter County attorney says the lack of activities during pandemic could also be driving people to go to use illegal gambling outlets, like eight liners.

“It’s probably seen an uptick because people are shut in and really anxious to get out and do something,” said Potter County Attorney, Scott Brumley.

Brumley says some people lose about $15,000 playing eight liners.

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