Stuff Stockings Responsibly: Lottery Tickets May Carry Risks for Minors

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National Council on Problem Gambling and McGill University team up with lotteries around the world to discourage giving lottery products to underage children

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Adolescents who receive lottery tickets as gifts tend to begin gambling earlier in life.

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 National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) and the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors at McGill University 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.

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.”

“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.”

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.”

The organizers thank the Minnesota Lottery Corporation for providing graphic design services for this year’s campaign. Participating lotteries to date this year include:

United States
Arizona Lottery, Arkansas Lottery, California Lottery, Connecticut Lottery Corporation, DC Lottery and Charitable Games, Georgia Lottery Corporation, Hoosier Lottery (Indiana), Illinois Lottery, Kentucky Lottery Corporation, Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, Massachusetts State Lottery Commission, Michigan Lottery, Minnesota Lottery, Missouri Lottery, New York Gaming Commission – Lottery Division, North Carolina Education Lottery, Ohio Lottery, Oklahoma Lottery Commission, Oregon Lottery, Pennsylvania Lottery, Rhode Island Lottery, South Dakota Lottery, Tennessee Lottery, Texas Lottery, Vermont Lottery, Virginia Lottery, Wyoming Lottery

Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, Atlantic Lottery, British Columbia Lottery Corporation, Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries, Nova Scotia Provincial Lotteries and Casino Corporation, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, Saskatchewan Lotteries

AB Svenska Spel (Sweden), Austrian Lotteries, Hrvatska Lutrija d.o.o. (Croatia)

For more information contact:

1.    Amy Feinberg, Program Administrator, National Council on Problem Gambling, (202) 547-9204 ext 24 or amyf(at)ncpgambling(dot)org

2. Dr. Jeffrey Derevensky, Director, International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors, McGill University, (514) 398-4249 or jeffrey(dot)derevensky(at)mcgill(dot)ca

3.    Dr. Rina Gupta, Co-Director International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors

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