Lottery tickets a good gift for adults, not so for children

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'Children should not be gambling'

Lottery CEO urging parents not to give lottery tickets to children as Christmas gifts.

HALIFAX - 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. "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

Geographic location: HALIFAX

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