Lottery tickets discouraged as gifts

Christmas is coming and with that comes the gift shopping. For many it has become an easy and convenient gift choice to buy a lottery ticket to give to a friend or relative. It is a great solution for an affordable fun gift that is easy to send in the post so it is understandable why it has become such a popular option. But the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission has a holiday season reminder for parents — don’t buy your kids lottery tickets for Christmas.

Many parents buy a lottery gift for their children as a stocking filler. Scratch cards have become an extremely popular gift as they are small, affordable, colorful and fun. The Alberta Gaming Commission however points out that it is not only illegal to give these cards to children but it can also be bad for their health. Lynn Hutchings-Mah from the commission says, “We wanted to catch their attention with the slogan ‘Santa doesn’t bring kids lottery tickets’ with the implication being that neither should you.”

The reason they have opted to focus on this campaign is that many studies now show that people who develop problems with gambling usually have exposure to it from an early age. It also shows that kids who gamble are far more likely to become gamblers than adults. “There’s actually research out there that shows the younger a person starts to gamble, the higher their risk for problem gambling later in life. And so that of course is a concern to us and would be a concern to parents.”

It is easy to forget that it is actually illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to play these scratch cards as they are appear so innocuous. Studies in Alberta show that one third of teens in the area have played a scratch card illegally. The message is to be posted in shops and in an ad campaign and it is hoped that parents will go back to giving chocolate and toys as gifts rather than these potentially problematic gambling cards.

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