Posted on: December 9, 2022, 11:00h. 

Last updated on: December 9, 2022, 11:23h.

Lottery gifts shouldn’t be given as presents to kids and anyone else under the legal playing age, the nation’s leading responsible gaming organization says.

lottery gifts presents National Council Problem Gambling NCPG
An advertisement from the Florida Lottery shows lottery tickets in stockings. The National Council on Problem Gambling says lottery tickets make poor gifts for children. (Image: Florida Lottery)

Many adolescents are introduced to gambling through lottery gifts. The presents are often given by adults who are likely unaware of the associated risks.

The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), the only national nonprofit organization working to minimize the social and economic costs associated with gambling addiction, claims the earlier someone becomes familiarized with gambling, the likelier they are to later develop a gambling disorder.

In an effort to stop adults from purchasing lottery tickets this holiday season for the younger people in their lives, the NCPG is again running its “Gift Responsibly Campaign.” The NCPG says every lottery organization in the US and Canada is participating in the fifth installment of the campaign.

Youth problem gambling has emerged as a significant and growing public health issue,” said Keith Whyte, NCPG executive director. “We are thrilled to have such support from the lottery community for the 2022 Gift Responsibly Campaign as we work to minimize gambling-related harm.”

The NCPG says 63 lotteries and 53 non-lottery organizations from around the world have joined the 2022 Gift Responsibly Campaign.

Lotteries Advertise Heavily During Holidays

The November and December holiday season is typically the busiest period of the year for retailers. And many state lotteries seek to get in on the spending bonanza by reminding consumers that scratch-offs make great gifts.

In Pennsylvania, the state lottery has for many years been running the same television commercial. First released in 1994, the Pennsylvania Lottery’s long-running advertisement shows an older man delivering lottery gifts on what appears to be a snowy Christmas Eve.

“What a great gift,” says one of the recipients. A narrator adds, “Pennsylvania Lottery tickets make great gifts.”

The Pennsylvania Lottery is one of the 63 lottery organizations to sign the NGPG’s Gift Responsibly pledge.

Along with higher marketing spending, many state lotteries run special themed scratch-off games around the holidays. In North Carolina, for instance, the state lottery’s current scratch-off titles include a series of “Holiday” games, with ticket prices ranging from $1 to $20.

The California Lottery recently advertised new scratchers with the caption, “‘Tis the Season of New Games.” Among the new products are a $10 scratch-off called “The Perfect Gift” and a $5 “Holiday Cash” ticket.

The NCPG doesn’t take a formal position on the merits of legal gambling. Instead, the organization focuses solely on helping those who cannot play responsibly.

Education, Awareness

The NCGP is stressing that buying a scratch-off for a person under the age of 18 isn’t harmless. The nonprofit is trying to highlight the possible negative consequences of introducing a person to gambling at such a young age.

The NCPG says the Gift Responsibly participating lotteries and organizations have agreed to “work to educate communities about the dangers of buying lottery tickets for children, raise awareness about the risks of youth gambling, and support responsible gambling practices.”