When shopping for the holidays this year, remember that lottery tickets are for grown-ups. Research shows that early childhood gambling experiences, including those with lottery products, can be a risk factor for gambling problems later in life.
It’s not uncommon for well-meaning adults to give lottery tickets to children as gifts, but many people don’t know the risks. People with gambling disorder often report that they began gambling at an early age, and that an early win increased their desire to gamble. The young brain is susceptible to addiction and youth may move quickly from gambling with friends and family to problem gambling. With increased exposure to gambling advertising and the growing availability of a wide variety of gambling activities, youth problem gambling is a growing public health concern. Even though gambling activities are legally restricted to adults, there is clear evidence that underage youth continue to actively participate in gambling.
Having a hard time thinking of easy gifting ideas for the kids on your list? Here are some ideas you can find right at your local shopping center, or online:
- Gift cards:
- Movie theater
- Restaurant / Fast food
- Coffee shops
- Popular department stores
- Craft kits
- Art supplies
- Board games
- Card games
- Nail polish, lotion, or bubble bath
- Candy or snacks
- Stuffed animals
- Toy cars
Here are some other things you can do to reduce the risk of youth gambling:
- If you purchase lottery tickets as gifts, remember they are only for the grownups on your list
- Follow AdCare and the Maine Council on Problem Gambling on Facebook and Twitter and share #GiftResponsibly posts with your friends and followers
- If you or someone you know has a problem with gambling, no matter what the age, help is always available. Call 211, visit 211.org, or text your zip code to 898-211
- Learn more:
- Get information about youth problem gambling in Maine at https://maineproblemgambling.org/main-page/youth-gambling/
- Get more information from the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behavior at http://youthgambling.com/
The annual Responsible Gifting Campaign began in 2003 to raise awareness about the risks of underage lottery play during the winter holiday season. Each year, the Maine Council on Problem Gambling and Adcare Educational Institute of Maine join the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) and International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors in educating the public with the message that lottery tickets aren’t child’s play.