A Joy to Give, But Not to KidsDecember 18th, 2012
I agreed to publish a guest post from the British Columbia Lottery Corporation about the dangers of giving lottery tickets to children. I personally would not have thought about these consequences until they approached me for this opportunity, but I’m glad to help spread awareness.
A Joy to Give, But Not To Kids
By Darren Groth
My daughter wants a bow and arrow for Christmas.
‘The Hunger Games’ is to blame. In spite of our caveats about the content – “It’s pretty rough in parts, sweetheart…You’ll read some things that might make you sad or scared…How about a nice ‘Nancy Drew’ book instead?” – she devoured the trilogy and watched the first movie installment with wide, enraptured eyes. And now she’s desperate to go all Katniss Everdeen on the neighbourhood Christmas morning.
I need to find something a little safer for her stocking.
How about some harmless lottery tickets? I could hand them over, saying: “May the odds be ever in your favour”.
Actually, the odds are never in your favour with games of chance. And those ‘harmless’ tickets? They’re not as harmless as you might assume.
Research has shown many adult problem gamblers report gambling at an early age, some as young as 10, and usually with lottery tickets. Of the many risk factors associated with problem gambling, starting at a young age is one of the most significant. And if you think there are more kids firing arrows around than gambling, think again: studies indicate over 40% of teens are participating in games of chance. Indeed, kids are more likely to gamble than drink, do drugs or smoke.
In response to these findings, BCLC, along with lottery jurisdictions across North America, conducts a holiday campaign reminding shoppers to think twice about whose stocking they are stuffing. 2012 is BCLC’s fifth year of promoting this important message and we would like to see it hit the target for the foreseeable future.
So, remember: if you pop by your local Lotto centre looking for gifts, make sure you’re only buying for the big people.
In the meantime, I’ll be trying to find a mockingjay on eBay.
To learn more about kids and gambling visit GameSense.ca [LINK: http://gamesense.ca]
(By day Darren is a GameSense Team lead at BCLC. At night he’s a proud father, published YA author, and sports fanatic).