Experts warn against giving children lottery tickets as gifts
By Katherine Gombay
If you give a lottery product as a gift, please make sure you keep the person’s age in mind. Studies suggest that gambling remains a popular activity among youth and adolescents who receive lottery tickets as gifts tend to begin gambling earlier in life – a possible risk factor for more severe gambling problems. Researchers have also reported a correlation between age of gambling onset and problem gambling.
This information, along with the concern about adolescent problem gambling, has prompted the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors at McGill and the U.S. National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) as well as dozens of lottery corporations around the globe to collaborate in the annual Holiday Campaign aimed at increasing public awareness about the impact of gifting lottery products to underage minors.
“Lottery tickets and scratch cards can be fun, entertaining, exciting and affordable, but they are not appropriate gifts for underage minors. Playing the lottery at a young age can increase the potential for problem gambling later in life,” said Jeffrey Derevensky, Director of the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors at McGill University. “We welcome the collaborative efforts of lottery corporations worldwide to help raise awareness about this issue; together we can make a difference in preventing underage gambling and gambling problems.”
NCPG Executive Director Keith Whyte explained that it’s vital to raise awareness because research has shown that some problem gamblers report beginning gambling during childhood – as early as 9-10 years of age. “The Holiday Campaign is a way to remind people that they can keep the fun in the holidays by gifting lottery tickets responsibly to adults.”
Last year, the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL) Board of Directors unanimously approved a resolution encouraging participation by its members in the Holiday Campaign. This year, the European Lottery Association (EL) has similarly endorsed the Holiday Campaign increasing the global reach of this important initiative. Keith Whyte said, “We believe responsible gaming is a positive approach to minimizing gambling-related harm and therefore maximizing public benefit. We are proud to work with NASPL and the EL and look forward to the growing momentum of this important awareness campaign.”