Parents encouraged not to give lottery tickets as gifts to children

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TRURO – The holiday season is quickly approaching and many people are buying lottery and scratch tickets as gifts and stocking stuffers.

While these are great gifts for adults, they are not appropriate for minors.

"While lottery and Scratch N' Win tickets might seem like fun gifts, it is a form of gambling and it is important that we send a message to parents that youth should not be gambling, no exception," said Bob MacKinnon, acting president and CEO of the Nova Scotia Provincial Lotteries and Casino Corporation, in a news release. "Playing the lottery at a young age can increase the potential for problem gambling later in life."

Results from recent studies show a growing number of high school students reportedly receive one or more lottery tickets or scratch cards as gifts. This, coupled with increasing concern about adolescent problem gambling, prompted the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors at McGill University, the National Council on Problem Gambling and dozens of lottery corporations around the globe to increase public awareness.

Evidence suggests 70 to 80 per cent of adolescents gambled for money in the past year, with about 30 per cent doing so weekly. Many problem gamblers report beginning to gamble at age 9 or 10.

International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors at McGill University co-director, professor Jeffrey Derevensky noted: "In a recent study conducted at Yale University by National Council on Problem Gambling board member Dr. Marc Potenza and colleagues, youngsters who received instant lottery tickets as a gift tended to begin gambling earlier in life – a possible risk factor for more severe gambling disorders later. The researchers also reported a stronger association between age of gambling onset and problem gambling severity among those who received lottery tickets."

The provincial lottery and casino corporation and its ticket lottery operator, Atlantic Lottery, continue to take measures to ensure adults and youth understand this through age of majority messaging and ensuring retailers are committed to enforcing the 19+ laws.

Parents and caregivers play an influential role in their children's lives. The corporation is urging people to give children the gift of responsibility this holiday season by preventing them from gambling before they reach the age of majority.


Organizations: McGill University, National Council on Problem Gambling, Nova Scotia Provincial Lotteries and Casino International Centre Yale University

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Recent comments

  • parent
    December 11, 2012 - 20:02

    doing this and buying lottery is no differant then allowing them or buying them bingo cards at bingo halls and allowing them to buy the radio and tv bingo cards at stores,why is that?bingo is no differant then lottery it is all a form of gambling,so why the age limit if they can play bingo

  • Dan
    December 11, 2012 - 13:51

    Not that I encourage buying lottery tickets for kids nor do I want to make light of gambling addiction, but is it really considered gambling if none of your money is at risk? And now my self-indulgent story that I know everyone wants to hear about me: I used to play the slots on my uncle's knees (his money), now I might drop $20 once a year at the casino and buy another $40-50 worth of lottery and scratch tickets each year (some as gifts). I guess I'll blame him for my $70 a year habit, thanks a lot Uncle So-and-so!

  • Mike
    December 11, 2012 - 12:07

    Next thing you know we won't be able to buy smokes or beer and give those to the kids too. What is the world coming to?! Kidding. Who would give lottery tickets to kids?