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Expert warns of addiction as Powerball jackpot grows

Lottery Jackpots
Posted at 10:49 PM, Oct 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-11 14:53:43-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — The Powerball jackpot is the second highest it's ever been in history, climbing to $1.73 billion dollars by October 10.

"I always play it when it's always up," Jason Ketcham, a Powerball player said.

The grand prize is still creeping upward, getting closer and closer to $2 billion dollars. People like Jason Ketcham were testing their luck Tuesday night at a WAWA on Pine Island Road.

"I'll go head and tell ya', there are a lot of people in this world that I love that wouldn't hurt anymore," he said, referencing how he'd spend the money if he won.

However, for Ketcham, playing is not a routine. He says he plays when the jackpot is large. This is what Jennifer Kruse calls responsible gambling. She is the executive director of the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling.

"It's meant to be a recreational activity," she said.

She says there's nothing wrong with wishing for good fortune but also that gambling should not be a financial solution.

She suggests setting money limits, and time limits for things like online games or in casinos.

Kruse says more than 25 thousand callers, dial into the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling hotline each year, and Kruse says many times the introduction is the lottery.

"The numbers are increasing year after year, the more accessible and the more normalized gambling becomes in our society, the more people are likely to develop a problem," she said.

As Ketcham and millions nationwide are playing ahead of the next draw, she Kruse says keeping it recreational is key.

"If I win like I said, there's going to be some people in my life that benefit greatly," Ketcham said.

Fox 4 reached out to the Florida Lottery Communications and received the following statement:

"Our games are intended to be a fun, low-cost form of entertainment. Plus, you get the added benefit of helping fund Florida education. We know that most of our players enjoy playing our games for the fun and excitement of it, but for others, gaming of any kind can create a problem. We aim to help those players, too."