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Big lottery jackpots mean more players and potential problems for low-income services

By: Tanner Hesterberg Email
By: Tanner Hesterberg Email

Jackpots for Powerball and Mega Millions are climbing. That means more and more people are buying lottery tickets.

"Just making all my dreams come true is basically what I'm trying to do," said lottery player Eddie Spicer.

The odds of winning the Powerball are roughly one in 175 million.

"i'm taking a chance for a life change, I guess," said lottery player Donald Graves. "I need new brakes and tires on my truck so I'd probably splurge and get those. I'd probably bury the rest in the back yard until the time was right to uncover it."

But playing the lottery is not just a whimsical act. It can have negative side effects.

One lingering question regarding lottery sales is whether organizations like churches that provide food and clothing to low income people see an increase in those needs when lottery jackpots go up.

"I have not observed a correlation here at our church," said Rev. Daryl Cornett, the pastor at First Baptist Church in Hazard. We have a big food pantry and regularly give out food from it, But I can't say that I personally have seen a correlation between the two."

However, Cornett says there are some common-sense conclusions that can be drawn.

"When you live in a small town, you see the folks who seem to be regulars buying these tickets and putting their hope in it, hoping that they'll be the one," Cornett said. "And sometimes they are the same people that you see coming and needing assistance."

Either way, people are still buying lottery tickets, trying to hit that ever-increasing jackpot.

"I just want to say sorry to all those buying lottery tickets," Graves said. "I got the winner in my back pocket."


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