Lottery tickets are fun-filled and exciting presents, but they are not suitable gifts for minors. Studies suggest that gambling is a popular yet risky activity among youth. Additionally, researchers have reported a correlation between age of gambling onset and problem gambling later in life. Lottery play is sometimes an initial introduction to gambling activities for minors.
This research along with a growing concern about adolescent problem gambling prompted the development of the Holiday Lottery Campaign. This annual campaign is aimed at increasing public awareness about the impact of gifting lottery products to minors. It is a collaborative initiative between McGill’s Youth Gambling Centre, the U.S. National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) and dozens of lottery corporations around the globe.
“Playing the lottery at a young age can increase the potential for problem gambling later in life” said Jeffrey Derevensky, Director of McGill’s Youth Gambling Centre. “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 shows that some problem gamblers report beginning gambling during childhood – as early as 9-10 years of age.” He also stated, “There are so many other concerns about teenagers that parents often overlook the potential harm of underage gambling.”
The Holiday Lottery campaign is endorsed by the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL) and the European Lottery Association (EL), highlighting the global reach of the campaign. Keith Whyte said, “We believe responsible gambling 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.”