The holiday season is right around the corner. That means gift-giving is on many people’s minds, especially if there are children in your life. While it can be tempting to fill their stockings with small items like lottery scratch-offs, dice or cards this year, think again.
According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, many young people have their first gambling experience around ages 9 to 11. Not only that, but early gambling experiences, including lottery products, are a risk factor for problem gambling later in life. Even though it might seem like no big deal, we are here to remind you that lottery tickets are not child’s play.
Consider the following before you place gambling products under the tree this holiday season:
Why is youth gambling a problem during the holidays?
- Some adults report giving lottery tickets to children as gifts during the holiday season, and lottery tickets have been proven as an entry point to other gambling activities.
- The holidays are also a time to play games as a family, which can lead to games where you play for money, like blackjack, poker, or rummy.
How common is youth gambling nationally?
- 2-4% of adolescents currently have a problem with gambling.
- 10-14% of adolescents are at risk for developing a problem with gambling.
- In comparison, 10% of Ohio adults are at-risk for problem gambling, and 1% may be diagnosed with a Gambling Disorder.
What can I give instead of lottery tickets this year?
- Activate the brain. Puzzles, books, sewing kits, or science lab sets are great fun and stimulate developing parts of the brain.
- Get active. Bikes, softballs, tennis racquets, soccer balls, or footballs are just the tip of the iceberg. Encourage the little ones in your life to get outside and be active!
- Be creative. Painting sets, crayons, and musical instruments can inspire the little artist inside to create something special.