HAMILTON — The Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, Inc. has joined forces with the New Jersey Lottery in an effort to discourage the gifting of lottery tickets to minors.
Lottery products are often popular stocking stuffers and easy choices to slip into a gift or holiday card. They are generally affordable, colorful and easily available. New Jersey law requires lottery purchasers to be 18 years of age. However, the law does not prohibit the purchase of a ticket or share for the purpose of making a gift by a person 18 years of age or older to a person less than that age.
Research shows that 70-80% of adolescents report having gambled for money in the last year. A recent study stated that there are 750,000 problem gamblers among youth 14-21 in the United States. A 2006 report on adolescent gambling in New York found that 15,000-41,000 adolescents in that state had severe gambling problems and 135,000-193,000 were at risk for gambling related difficulties in the future. Other research clearly shows that the earlier children start to gamble, the more likely they are to develop a gambling problem.
The Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, Inc. urges parents to use good judgment in making holiday gift selections for their children. Most youth first gamble with family members. This may contribute to the normalization of gambling and a belief that gambling is harmless, unless parents send clear messages about responsible gambling.
Donald Weinbaum, executive director of the council, noted that, “While the Council is neutral on gambling, we are concerned that early introduction to any form of gambling can increase the potential for young people to develop gambling problems later in life.”
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