The Unintended Impact of Gifting Lottery Tickets to Kids

As the holidays approach, you may be considering scratch-offs or other lottery tickets as stocking-stuffers for children. While these are common gifts in America and they might seem innocent and fun, giving lottery tickets to kids can have serious unintended consequences.

In this post, we’ll discuss the negative impact that gifting lottery tickets to your children can have. We’ll explain how the excitement of winning can affect children more significantly than adults while offering a number for you to contact in case you need professional help in NJ for a gambling problem.

The Allure of a Scratch-Off

Lottery tickets and scratch-off tickets, also known as “scratchers,” are popular gifts around the holidays. They can fit in a greeting card envelope or a stocking above the fireplace, and you can buy them in large quantities for cheap, so that everyone can get in on the excitement. Scratch-offs feature tons of different games and prizes, and with decorative and festive designs, it’s easy to forget you’re actually gambling money.

On top of that, scratchers offer instant-gratification. Whereas winning lottery numbers are released hours or even days after the ticket is purchased, scratchers let you see your winnings immediately, which triggers a greater rush of endorphins. For young children especially, this can begin to lay the groundwork for a future gambling disorder.

What You’re Teaching Your Child

As an adult, winning a scratch-off ticket is fun, but you know it was based on luck and it isn’t likely to happen often. As a kid, on the other hand, winning can seem more significant. While a $40 prize would certainly be appreciated by an adult, that same prize can have a much stronger impact on a young teen, tempting them to play again.

“This holiday season, if you choose to give a lottery ticket as a gift, be sure to consider the age of the recipient,” explains Neva Pryor, the executive director here at the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey. “The younger a child engages in such behavior, the more likely they are to have a problem down the road.”

Don’t be fooled by all the bright colors and festive designs. Although scratch-offs might seem like an innocent gift you can give anyone, they can send children the wrong message about gambling and lay the foundation for a gambling disorder later in life.

If you or a loved one needs help with their gambling problem, contact our confidential gambling help hotline, 800-GAMBLER, available 24/7.


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