2022 NCPG Holiday Campaign Seeks To Curb Youth Gambling

Written By J.R. Duren on December 13, 2022
Holiday US gambling campaign focuses on youth risk

Lottery tickets are a great gift…for adults. That’s the central theme of the 2022 Gift Responsibly Campaign.

The initiative is a joint effort between the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), McGill University, 63 lotteries, and non-lottery groups. Julia Brunson, the NCPG’s communications administrator, told PlayUSA that gifting kids lottery tickets can have damaging implications.

“Lottery tickets may seem like innocent fun, but they can serve as one of the first introductions to gambling a child experiences. By exposing children to lottery tickets (a form of gambling) at a young age, parents and friends may be unintentionally contributing to the risk of that child developing a gambling disorder.”

The Gift Responsibly Campaign was founded in the early 2000s. The International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors at McGill University partners with the NCPG.

The US responsible gambling campaign runs from November through December.

Education and responsible gambling are the heart of campaign

The NCPG, McGill, and dozens of lotteries join together every November and December for the campaign. Brunson said that the goal is to educate communities about the risks of buying lottery tickets for children.

The campaign isn’t so much about being pro- or anti-gambling as it is about teaching responsible gambling through:

  • Educating communities
  • Raising awareness about the risks of youth gambling
  • Supporting US responsible gambling practices and remaining neutral about gambling legalization

NCPG Executive Director Keith Whyte said in a statement, “youth problem gambling has emerged as a significant and growing public health issue. We are thrilled to have such support from the lottery community, as well as the non-lottery participants, for the 2022 Gift Responsibly Campaign as we work to minimize gambling-related harm.”

Dozens of lotteries in the United States and abroad are involved in the campaign, including:

  • California State Lottery
  • Illinois Lottery
  • New York State Gaming Commission
  • Pennsylvania Lottery
  • Florida Lottery
  • Lotteries in Croatia, Ireland, Canada, Slovenia, and the UK

Additionally, the campaign has the endorsement of the World Lottery Association and European Lotteries. As well as the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries.

Adolescents are four times more likely to be problem gamblers

Driving the campaign is the stark reality of adolescent and youth gambling addiction. Just 1% to 2% of the adult population struggles with a gambling disorder. However, between 4% to 6% of adolescents do, Brunson said.

And where does it start? In part, it begins with exposure at a young age. The simple act of giving a lottery ticket to a child for Christmas can have long-term impacts.

“Research shows that children introduced to gambling by age 12 are four times more likely to engage in problem gambling later in life,” Burnson said.

On average, most young people have their first gambling experience from ages 9 to 11. While young males gamble more often than females, adolescent females play the lottery more.

At least one out of every 10 adolescents is at risk for developing a gambling problem. That fact and the research make the Gifting Responsibly Campaign a necessary movement. Brunson said:

“Youth problem gambling is a growing public health concern. Even though gambling activities are legally restricted to adults, and laws for purchase, play, and redemption vary by state, province, and territory, there is clear evidence that underage youth continue to actively participate in gambling.”

Where to go for help

The NCPG offers several resources for those who struggle with a gambling problem. Individuals can speak with a trained team member by calling 1-800-522-4700 anytime, day or night.

The organization provides a 24/7 chat helpline, too. Eight states have a text helpline as well.

Gamblers can participate in Gamtalk, an online forum for problem gambling, too. The site includes live chat with other members, stories of recovery, and resources for treatment and support.

Photo by PlayUSA
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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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