November 18, 2017  Last Update: December 21, 2016, 11:10 pm

Lottery Addiction: Chinese Man Blows 6 Million on Losing Lottery Tickets

Chinese lottery winners must appear in person to claim the prizes, but routinely hide their identities to avoid kidnapping and extortion attempts.

Can you become addicted to playing the lottery? One Chinese man has finally admitted he was unable to stop himself, after he spent his life’s savings on losing tickets. His addiction experience sounds very familiar: he lost his wife, his car, his home, and his company/career, as he dug deeper into debt to feed his addiction.

He was very well known at the ticket office – a sales agent commented that Mr. Xiao at first drove a car to the office to buy tickets, and then a moped, and finally a bicycle, which he also eventually sold to fund his gambling.

“At first, he drove a car (to the lottery office to buy lottery tickets), then he rode a moped, and finally, a bicycle,”
- Lottery Sales Agent, quoted by Shanghai Times

The Shanghai Daily reports that Mr. Xiao was at one time spending 20,000 Chinese Yuan per day on his lottery ticket addiction. That translates into close to $3200 per day. By the time he had reached 1 million yuan in losses (about $160,000), his drug-seeking lottery-ticket seeking behavior created so much stress in his life that his wife left him, reportedly sick from the stress.

Definition of Addiction: Compelling, destructive behavior that continues despite negative consequences

According to DetoxAnswers.com, the definition of addiction is “compelling, destructive behavior that continues despite negative consequences”. Clearly, Mr. Xiao was addicted to buying lottery tickets.

Xiao and his wife owned several homes and cars but after spending 6 million Yuan on lottery tickets, he has nothing left. He reportedly lives in a bathhouse. He tells the story of his addiction to the Shanghai Times, but it reads just like a typical American story of opioid addiction, cocaine addiction, or gambling addiction. What you may not learn from the media coverage, however, is that Xiao originally got his wealth from  a different kind of lottery win.

The Chinese government routinely relocates citizens to make room for cities, public works projects, and development. Relocation can be a windfall for some, when they discover that family-owned farms or land or perhaps even individual homes are worth significant sums as “relocation payments”. Mr. Xiao was relocated, and received several apartments in his new location as payment for his original home. He became a real estate investor/property manager

Addiction is forbidden in China, but lottery is State owned. Ruined gambling addict called "financially illiterate"
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Like many lottery winners, Mr. Xiao was not equipped to manage his new-found wealth. He apparently didn’t recognize the signs that he had become addicted. Like many gamblers, he kept his lottery-ticket buying a secret, hoping to “win it all back” someday so no one would know about his losses. Other reports within China refer to Mr. Xiao as a “financially illiterate man”, when telling his story.

Despite very strong cultural ties to gambling, gambling remains illegal in China except for the lottery, which is State supported. State run lotteries rose in popularity after several massive jackpots, including a 360 million Yuan prize awarded to an anonymous 30 year old Chinese man in 2009. The government claims the lottery earnings are used to fund social welfare programs and various government interests, which have included partial funding of the Olympics Games in Beijing.

Resources:

  • Shanghailist coverage of the story
  • Shanghai Daily
  • Definition of Addiction from DetoxAnswers
  • Warning Signs of Addiction
  • Gambling, Alcohol, or Heroin – it’s the same Addiction

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