Do you buy lottery tickets for the kids’ stockings? This advice may come as a big surprise.
Age-Appropriate Gifts are Better Options for the Holidays
Research shows that early childhood gambling experiences, including those with lottery products, can be a risk factor for gambling problems later in life. This holiday season, give a child a gift, not a lottery ticket – and have the conversation with your family about the risks of underage gambling.
“I remember the first time I heard that giving kids lottery tickets as gifts could be harmful,” said Lori Manson, Problem Gambling Services Coordinator at AdCare Maine and board member of the Maine Council on Problem Gambling. “It seems like such a harmless tradition and so many people do it. It came as a big surprise that childhood lottery exposure is linked to gambling addiction.”
According to the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), approximately 60 percent of high-school-aged adolescents report having gambled for money during the past year. Four to six percent of adolescents presently have a serious problem with gambling. The teen brain is susceptible to addiction, and gambling problems are linked to lower grades, use of alcohol and drugs, and mental health problems including depression and anxiety.
Research linking early exposure to gambling to future problem gambling and other risky behaviors inspired the Gift Responsibly Campaign to raise awareness about the risks of underage lottery play during the winter holiday season and other occasions throughout the year. Each year, the Maine Council on Problem Gambling and AdCare Maine Problem Gambling Services join the National Council on Problem Gambling 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.
“The potential long-term risks associated with underage gambling exposure cannot be understated,” said Keith Whyte, NCPG Executive Director. “I commend each Gift Responsibly Campaign participant for their commitment to raising awareness about the risks of youth gambling. Now, more than ever, we must continue to insist that lottery tickets are never appropriate gifts for children.”
Learn more about youth gambling at maineproblemgambling.org.
If you or someone you know, no matter what the age, has a gambling problem, in Maine, call 211 or text your zip code to 898-211.
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About the Maine Council on Problem Gambling
The Maine Council on Problem Gambling is a volunteer-driven 501(c)3 non-profit committed to working with other organizations and individuals to reduce problem gambling and its impact on Maine’s individuals, families, and communities. Learn more at maineproblemgambling.org
About AdCare Educational Institute of Maine
The mission of AdCare Educational Institute is to advance knowledge, skills, and awareness in the prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery of substance use disorders, behavioral health, and related public health issues. AdCare’s Problem Gambling Services program provides education on problem gambling, manages problem gambling services including online and community self-exclusion services for casino and sports wagering, as well oversight of the Gambling Addiction Treatment Network. Learn more at adcareme.org/problem-gambling.
About the National Council on Problem Gambling
The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) is neutral on legalized gambling. Based in Washington DC, NCPG is the only national nonprofit organization that seeks to minimize the economic and social costs associated with gambling addiction. If you or someone you know may have a gambling problem, contact the National Problem Gambling Helpline, which offers hope and help without stigma or shame. Call or text 1-800-GAMBLER or visit www.1800gamblerchat.org. Help is available 24/7 – it is free and confidential.
About International Center for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors at McGill University
For over 20 years, the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors at McGill University has been at the forefront of leading-edge research aimed at identifying and understanding the critical factors related to youth gambling issues.
For more information, contact:
Problem Gambling Services Coordinator
AdCare Maine Problem Gambling Services
Phone: (207) 626-3615 ext. 20