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Why You Shouldn’t Give Scratch-Off Lottery Tickets to Kids as Gifts

It’s not uncommon for children and teenagers to receive a slew of scratch-off lottery tickets as a stocking stuffer on Christmas, or as a bonus birthday add-on. But buying scratch-offs for kids can lead to teen gambling in Atlantic City before you know it. So, you should think twice before buying your kids lottery tickets as a gift this holiday season — let’s take a closer look at the subject.

Holidays & Birthdays Shouldn’t Introduce Children to Gambling

When you introduce children to the highs and lows of gambling on holidays or their birthday, they begin to associate the risky activity with happy times in their lives. This could lead to serious issues down the road, which is why it’s so important to keep your children away from gambling to the best of your ability. Instead, let them experience rewarding activities on their birthdays and holidays, like sports and strategy games with their friends and family.

Scratch-Offs Appeal to Kids More than Other Forms of Gambling

Scratch-off lottery tickets seem like a fun game to children, with colorful branding, fun games, and the excitement of not knowing what your prize will be. Kids and teens aren’t old enough to understand that “almost winning” (i.e., missing a win by one number) isn’t really possible with scratch-offs — each ticket is either a winner or a loser; how close the numbers were to a win has no effect on how close the ticket was to being a winner. These are just a few of the reasons why scratch-off lottery tickets are problematic gifts for kids on holidays and their birthdays.

Don’t Let Gambling Disorders Develop Early

In 2013, Donald Weinbaum, our executive director at CCGNJ, opined in a press release, “Parents really can make a difference and reduce the risk of children developing gambling problems… Let’s send the right message this year and refrain from giving lottery tickets to young children.” We still stand by that message to this day. You can steer your children in the right direction by providing other, more rewarding birthday and holiday gifts.

Infographic explaining why scratch-offs are bad gifts for children

You can call our helpline at 800-GAMBLER any time for support, treatment, and hope.