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Lottery mania affects some dealing with gambling addiction

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Powerball fever is contagious, leading up to the drawing tonight that will be life-changing if there's a winner. (KFSN)

There's not much rest for employees at Village Liquor in Northeast Fresno. Customers have been rushing in to buy Powerball lottery tickets in the final hours before the drawing.

"Every time it gets really big, of course it's never been this big before, when it gets big like this people just go crazy," said Pam Sikora, Fresno.

All across the country, people have lined up and spent time buying $2 Powerball tickets for the chance to become a billionaire. While the sound of the lottery tickets being sold is music to some people's ears, it may be sounds of temptation for those battling gambling addictions.

"These big pots tempt people. I mean its like get rich, get well. In my case I was looking for a big payout because I wanted to get even," said Bob B., compulsive gambler.

Bob is a recovering compulsive gambler and a member of a Gamblers Anonymous program in Fresno. He says there are red flag warnings for those that are dealing with the addiction.

"If you're hurting your family, your job is in jeopardy, your marriage is in jeopardy. It takes on a lot of different faces, but finances become critical," said Bob.

Dr. Bradley Wajda, who treats people with gambling addictions, said it is different than alcohol or drugs. "With gambling you're going to hit, you're going to win. There's going to be times when you get that endorphin release that's going to raise up the reward center in your brain and that's what keeps you going."

He says treatment is key to helping people recognize their struggles.

As for Bob, he's coming up on his 14th birthday with Gamblers Anonymous and says he's found new friends in this chapter of his life.

"It's been a lifesaver for me."

If you, or someone you know, suffers from gambling addiction, visit www.gamblersanonymous.org or call (855) 222-5542.

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