A SHANGHAI lottery addict who sold apartments and cars worth 6 million yuan (US$967,741) to buy tickets ended up losing everything - including his family.
At the peak of his addiction, the 46-year-old, surnamed Xiao, was spending 20,000 yuan a day.
Xiao owned four apartments, four cars and his own company, and had a happy family life with his wife and son.
Now he has six credit cards racked up with debt and a few hundred yuan in his pocket and lives in a bath house.
“Over the past six years, I bought lottery tickets every day, spending at least 2,000 yuan to 3,000 yuan and up to 20,000 yuan in a single day,” a tearful Xiao told Shanghai Evening Post.
After working as a hotel manager, he opened his own conference services company in 2010. Xiao said he was living an affluent life, after getting three apartments from a relocation.
But things went downhill as he became increasingly hooked on the lottery. “I just wanted to try my luck,” he said.
Initially, Xiao hid his addiction from his wife, a teacher. “I wanted to surprise her by winning a jackpot,” he said.
But no jackpot came and Xiao had soon squandered nearly 1 million yuan.
He finally told his wife and they sold an apartment to cover losses. However, Xiao was soon buying tickets again.
“I just wanted to win back after getting through the crisis,” he said.
His wife became ill after failing to persuade Xiao to stop, while their son’s pleas also fell on deaf ears.
He was caught in the destructive cycle of buying tickets; not winning; wanting to win to make up losses; buying more tickets. “I couldn’t stop,” he admitted.
Xiao sold his apartments, cars and watches. Then last year, his wife asked for a divorce.
Lady Luck did briefly smile on Xiao early this year when he won 400,000 yuan. But this made little impact on his growing losses.
Xiao’s obsession reached an extent that he hired people buy tickets for him - paying them 3,000 yuan a month.
A worker at a lottery booth Xiao went to said he spent more than 1 million yuan there. “At first, he drove a car, then he rode a moped, and finally, a bicycle,” the worker said.
Now Xiao is only left with regrets. “I feel so sorry about my wife and son, but it’s too late,” he said.