By John Burton
TRENTON – The New Jersey Lottery and the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey are working together this holiday season to discourage the gifting of lottery tickets to minors.
For many, lottery tickets make for an easy choice as a stocking stuffer or something to put into a holiday card because they’re reasonably affordable, colorful and easily available. But while state law requires the purchaser to be 18, there is nothing that legally prohibits adults from giving the tickets to minors.
Just as with alcohol, drugs and tobacco use, gambling at an early age can increase the risk of developing an addiction, according to the Council on Compulsive Gambling. According to a recent Yale University study, the council cited, young people who receive instant tickets, “scratch offs,” as gifts tend to begin gambling earlier in life than those who hadn’t gotten tickets as gifts. Adult problem gamblers frequently report beginning gambling during childhood, often as young as 9-10, usually with other family members.
The two groups will be conducting an education campaign geared toward parents to use good judgment, said the council. “Let’s send the right message this year and refrain from giving lottery tickets to young children,” said Donald Weinbaum, the council’s executive director.