Scratch-offs are poor stocking stuffers

 Last weekend, Schenectady’s Daily Gazette had a timely and important editorial aimed at folks looking for an easy gift to give to minors: “Scratch-offs are bad gifts for kids: Introducing them to children could lead to gambling addiction later in life” (December, 9, 2017, C5). The editorial has a litany of reasons for its message.

The core argument goes something like this:

The first message it sends to kids is that gambling is a game. For responsible adults who drop into the casino for a few hands of blackjack or a few spins on a slot machine, it can be just that.

 But kids’ brains don’t work that way.

 Physiologically, the part of the brain that allows adults to make responsible judgments isn’t fully developed in children and adolescents. . .

The risks they take with gambling at a young age could hurt them in the long run. Tons of studies back that up.

. . . the earlier children begin gambling, the more likely they are to develop gambling problems as adults.

If you don’t have Gazette online access, you can learn more on this topic, or get more ammunition for convincing well-meaning gift-givers, at the Holiday in Action webpage of the National Council on Problem Gambling. And, Click here for the World Lottery Association campaign brochure. This is the 4th consecutive year that New York’s Responsible Play Partnership (RPP), comprised of the New York State Gaming Commission, New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substances Abuse Services and the New York Council on Problem Gambling, has joined this campaign. 

Thanks to all the organizations, local, State, national, and international, who are working to prevent problem gambling among the young. Of course, we also need far more efforts targeting all the vulnerable groups in our society, and City, bombarded by pro-gambling ads and propaganda that attempt to make gambling/gaming seem normal, innocuous, glamorous, and even civic-minded.

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