New Jersey Lottery officials are warning parents not to hook children on gambling by giving them lottery tickets as gifts.
The lottery has once again joined forces with the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey in efforts to prevent underage gambling. While adults are not legally barred from buying tickets and giving them to minors, state law does require that ticket buyers be at least 18 years old.
“Parents really can make a difference and reduce the risk of children developing gambling problems,” said Donald Weinbaum, the council’s executive director. “Let’s send the right message this year and refrain from giving lottery tickets to young children.”
Experts say adult problem gamblers frequently report beginning to gamble in childhood, often between 9 and 10 years old, with other family members. And a recent study found that youngsters who received instant tickets as a gift tended to begin gambling earlier in life.
There is also strong evidence that 70 to 80 percent of adolescents have gambled for money in the past year and 30 percent are gambling on a weekly basis.