Kids Who Get Lottery Ticket Gifts More Likely to Have Gambling Problems [Study]

Is a scratch-off lottery ticket a creative gift idea for a kid or a pathway to addiction? The study, from researchers at Yale School of Medicine and published in Adolescent Health, found that high school students who had received scratch-off lottery ticket gifts as children were more likely to report problem gambling behaviors than those who had not. The lottery gift group also showed a stronger association between early age onset of gambling and problem gambling severity. In addition, those who had received the tickets had more liberal attitudes toward gambling than those who had not.

Talk to Kids about Gambling

As parents or caregivers, we might talk with kids about drugs, alcohol, or texting while driving, but we might not remember to address the negative impact of problem gambling. Have a conversation—a real back-and-forth—with your child or teen about the potential dangers. Get tips to jumpstart the discussion with Teen Gambling – Talking Points Parents Need to Know.

Be a Good Example

Setting the good example can be a challenging part of parenting, whether we’re biting our lip over saying a four-letter word or eating our own veggies at dinner.  If you gamble in front of the kids, make sure they understand that it’s just a game—it’s not glamorous, it’s not a lifestyle, and it’s not a way to make money.

Watch for Signs of a Gambling Problem

Drug or alcohol abuse often produces physical signs, but gambling addiction often does not, making it critical that parents and caregivers understand the red flags that could indicate a problem. Does your child…

  • Withdraw from family, friends, and activities?
  • Show decline in academic or work performance?
  • Experience gambling-related mood swings: jubilant after wins, depressed after losses?
  • Brag about winning?
  • Gamble to relieve anxiety, stress, or frustration?
  • Lie about gambling activity?
  • Gamble with money intended for other purposes (lunch, gas, textbooks, etc.)?
  • Chase losses?
  • Promise to stop but is unable to on his/her own?
  • Frequent online gambling sites that use real or virtual money? (Check out Gambling for Kids? There May Be An App For That.)

Reach Out for Help

Do you suspect your child or teen struggles with a gambling problem? Compass Mark provides resources for families in Lebanon and Lancaster, PA. Our trained referral team will help you locate the compulsive gambling resources your child or teenager needs to live a life free from addiction—and the emotional and financial destruction that comes with it. Use this help form or contact the Compass Mark office at (717) 299-2831.

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