Focus at Four: The pros and cons of playing the lottery

Winning the lottery is a dream that many Texans have, but only a few actually succeed.

However, there are some in the Brazos Valley who have walked away with large cash prizes. Back in 2011, a College Station man purchased a $10 scratch-off ticket and banked more than $1 million. In 2015, a Navasota man claimed a $5 million prize courtesy of the Lotto Texas Jackpot.

That money doesn't grow on trees. It comes from the pockets of Texans, including right here in the Brazos Valley. Below is a list of area counties and the net sales they contributed to the Texas Lottery Commission though buying lottery tickets. Millions of dollars come from just this part of Texas.

Brazos - $40,220,923
Burleson - $6,415,118
Grimes - $8,743,802
Leon - $5,933,863
Madison - $3,522,554
Walker - $12,061,057

A percentage of this amount is contributed to the Foundation School Fund. For last fiscal year, this area contributed more than $20 million to education costs for the state.

The money is administered by the Texas Education Agency, funding the operational needs and special program services for Texas school districts. This includes teacher salaries, utilities, equipment, and different areas of learning including bilingual and special education, gifted and talented education, and career and technical skills.

But what can be a good thing for Texas can be a bad thing for some Texans.

Frances Kimbrough, licensed psychologist in Bryan, joined First News at Four to discuss gambling addictions and the slippery slope the lottery can provide.

Kimbrough says you've crossed a dangerous line if you obsess over your lottery tickets, or if you are using food or rent money to buy them.

Alan Dabney from the Texas A&M Department of Statistics joined First News at Four to discuss how likely, rather unlikely, your chances are of winning big in the lottery. Dabney explains the "gambler's fallacy."

"You flip a coin 10 times and get heads each time," said Dabney. "You think you're due for 'tails' now, but you're not. The chances reset every flip."

"Not a lot of statisticians play the lottery," Dabney said.

For more information on the Texas lottery, see the Related Links. For full comments from Kimbrough and Dabney, see the video player above.