Giving Lottery Tickets to Kids This Holiday? Try These Responsible Gift Alternatives Instead.

The holidays are fast approaching, and for many people the gift shopping season is already in full swing. And with so many gifts to buy, it can be easy to miss a few on your list. That’s when some people might turn to that last-minute gift option: a lottery ticket. 

But even though lottery tickets might seem like an easy in-a-rush gift for the young people in your life, lottery tickets can actually have unintended consequences. Early exposure to gambling products like lottery tickets for young children, who aren’t of legal age to participate in gambling and are not yet equipped with the judgment to engage in gambling behaviors responsibly, can lead to developing a problem with gambling later in life. 

According to the National Council on Problem Gambling many young people report that their first gambling experience happened when they were between 9-11 years old. And approximately 60 percent of high school aged children reporting having gambled with real money in the past year, with 4-6 percent of adolescents reporting a serious problem with gambling, compared to adult gambling disorder prevalence rates, which are about 1-2 percent of the population.

So instead of lottery tickets, gift responsibly this season and consider giving these easy alternative gifts: 

  • Movie tickets: They’re just as cheap as lottery tickets and going to the movies together is a great way to bond as a family. Who doesn’t love a holiday blockbuster? 
  • Board games: Board games aren’t just like Monopoly anymore, with interesting and new board games being released for children and teenagers of all ages. Good Housekeeping magazine has even selected 35 of the best ones, tested by real kids. A board game can be a great hang-out activity for the whole family after a holiday dinner. 
  • Gift Cards: Giving a gift card to a child’s favorite store means they can choose a gift they like. And going with them to the store can also be a fun after-holiday outing together. 
  • An IOU: It might seem a little cheesy, but an IOU for a future activity with you is actually a cost-effective and easy way to give a gift that will bring light to a child’s eyes. Try giving them an IOU for a camping adventure, a theme park or county fair visit, or a nice dinner at their favorite restaurant. When they cash in the IOU, they’ll get the greatest gift of all: time with you. 

To learn more about how to help prevent youth gambling and access free fact sheets, discussion guides, and other resources, visit ChangeTheGameOhio.org. 

If you are concerned about your gambling habits or about the habits of someone you know, call the free Problem Gambling Helpline. Confidential support from trained and understanding specialists is available 24/7 by calling 1-800-589-9966 or texting 4HOPE to 741741.


Young children can buy items in video games, like loot boxes, without knowing they’re using real money or being exposed to gambling behaviors. That can have serious consequences, like this mom who was charged for $16,000 of in-app purchases. Read more: https://bit.ly/3QdI2Zs

Help is always just a call away w/ the free #ProblemGamblingHelpline. If you are worried about your gambling or sports betting habits, trained & understanding specialists will answer your call 24/7 at 1-800-589-9966 or text 4HOPE to 741741.
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Many #SportsBetting platforms offer “free” bets to get new customers. But these promotional offers can lead to #ProblemGambling if not pursued responsibly. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3jneAUS
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