In the fiscal year that ended June 30, California Lottery sales rose $400 million, or 13 percent, joining a long list of states that saw sales increases, including Colorado, Maryland, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Texas. Scratch ticket sales helped fuel California’s increase for the second year in a row.
“I think it has a lot to do with the economy,” said Abel Reynoso, who works at the Desert Hot Springs Chevron on Palm Avenue off Interstate 10. “They’re getting desperate.”
Kate Sweeny, assistant professor of psychology at University of California, Riverside, said the uptick in lottery sales largely occurs when people feel a lack of control over events larger than themselves, like the economy.
“That feeling of self-control is very important to psychological well-being,” Sweeny said. “To the extent that you feel you have control, you take control.”
Every time someone experiences something beyond their self-control, such as a job loss, it makes a withdrawal on their “self-control bank.” When people deplete their self-control resources, they become depressed, Sweeny said. Scratch tickets, which can bring instant satisfaction, are a way to bring that control back to a person’s life, she said.
Citizens are getting desperate. Instead of promoting the feeling citizens have control of their future, the daily voice of government – casino and lottery advertising – exploits their desperation. It is one of the biggest failures of our time. The question we continue to ask over and over again is why is government continuing to promote a policy that shrinks the middle class and pushes citizens into deeper debt during these severe economic times?