The Kentucky Lottery Corporation endorses and is participating in a worldwide effort to remind parents — and all adults — that gambling is an age-appropriate adult activity. In fact, in Kentucky, it is illegal for anyone under 18 years of age of age to purchase a lottery ticket.
“Gifting lottery tickets, and any gambling-related items such as toy slot machines or electronic poker games, potentially can lead to dangerous behavior,” Michael R. Stone, executive director, Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling (KYCPG) said. “Research has shown that early participation in gambling activity by youth leads to an increased possibility of the individual developing a gambling problem or addiction.
“Parents do not give their children cigarettes or alcohol because of the known harmful effects of those items. The same care should be exercised in regard to gambling, which can be addictive as defined by the American Psychiatric Association,” Stone explained.
As part of its commitment to social responsibility, the Kentucky Lottery endorses the holiday messaging campaign— Give Responsibly: Lottery Tickets Are Not Child’s Play— supported by the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL), the World Lottery Association (WLA), and the European Lottery Association (ELA). The campaign was created by the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors at McGill University in Montreal and the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG).
Kentucky’s youth gambles, just like youth everywhere. The Kentucky Incentives for Prevention survey of 120,000 Kentucky youth in 2012 showed more than 33 percent of seniors gambled for money or possessions in their lifetimes. A review funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Center for Responsible Gaming indicated youth 12-17 years of age are more susceptible to problem gambling than adults. A 2009 study from the State University of New York at Buffalo revealed 68 percent of youth 14-21 years of age gambled during the past year, including purchasing lottery tickets.
The Kentucky Lottery’s holiday campaign to promote responsible gambling is one of its efforts to increase awareness of problem gambling and help individuals keep gambling as a form of adult entertainment. With the distribution support of KYCPG, the Kentucky Lottery provides Choices, and addiction awareness curriculum for middle and high school youth. The program is provided free of charge and can be obtained from KYCPG by e-mailing [email protected]
Should someone need assistance with a gambling problem, whether personally or regarding a friend or relative, the 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) confidential helpline is available 24 hours, seven days a week. With Kentucky Lottery sponsorship, the helpline now has text services available, and on-line chatting with a trained counselor can be accessed through www.kygamblinghelp.org or the Kentucky Lottery website.
A simple two-question self-test can help determine whether someone may have a gambling problem.
1. Have you ever lied about how much you gamble?
2. Have you felt the need to bet more and more money?
Answering “yes” to either question indicates the person may have a problem and should seek help.
“The Kentucky Lottery is a recognized world leader in promoting responsible gambling,” Stone added. “We urge Kentucky parents and other adults who interact with youth to follow a responsible path. Lottery scratch-offs are not appropriate gifts for children under 18 years of age.”