Contact: Susan Sheridan Tucker
Phone: (612) 424-8595
Email:  sst@northstarproblemgambling.org   

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  

Minnesota Lottery and Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance Participate in National Holiday Responsible Gambling Campaign 

The Minnesota Lottery and the Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance (NPGA) announced today they are participating in a national responsible gambling campaign to raise awareness about the risks of underage lottery play during the holiday season. Both organizations will promote the importance of responsible gambling through various media channels, joining a growing effort to raise awareness about this issue around Minnesota, the United States and North America.

The campaign, now in its eleventh year, is led nationally by the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) and internationally by the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors at McGill University. 

December is a time when many cultures share in gift giving, and some may consider giving scratch tickets to young people as gifts. “While a scratch-off ticket may provide momentary excitement, underage recipients don’t have the cognitive development to discern the potential risks of gambling,” says Susan Sheridan Tucker, Northstar executive director. “This is why tickets sales are limited to adults.” When a trusted adult provides a ticket to a minor, it sends the message that the activity is an acceptable practice. 

Youth gambling is particularly concerning because researchers have established a link between the age at which a person first gambles and the occurrence of excessive or problem gambling later in life. Studies have also shown that many adolescents gamble at least occasionally, and that lottery products, particularly scratch tickets, often serve as an introduction to gambling activities for youth. 

For some youth, lottery products may be a gateway to excessive or problem gambling. Youth gambling has been linked to other risky behaviors, including smoking, drinking and drug use. 

The NCPG reports the following statistics on youth gambling: 

  • Young people report their first gambling experience occurs, on average, around 9-11 years of age 
  • Approximately 80% of high-school aged adolescents report having gambled for money during the past year 
  • 2-4% of adolescents presently have a gambling problem while another 10-14% are at-risk for developing a gambling problem; in contrast, adult problem gambling rates for the general population are about 1-2% 
  • Adult problem gamblers report an earlier onset of gambling, often beginning between the ages of 10-19 
  • Early gambling experiences are a risk factor for later problem gambling 
  • While male adolescents gamble more frequently than females, female adolescents are more actively involved in lottery play 
  • Lottery scratch-off tickets have been shown to present a possible gateway to other gambling activities 

“While we think lottery tickets make for fun gifts for adults, they are not appropriate as a gift for minors,” says Robert Doty, executive director of the Minnesota Lottery. “The commitment of the Minnesota Lottery and so many other lotteries around the country demonstrates our interest in ensuring that lottery participation is both fun and safe.” Both Tucker and Doty feel that responsible gambling is a positive approach to minimizing gambling-related harm and maximizing public benefit. 

Problem gambling, also known as gambling addiction or compulsive gambling, is defined as the urge to gamble despite harmful negative consequences or a desire to stop. It’s estimated that approximately 160,000 to 214,000 Minnesotans struggle with this addictive disorder, which can destroy lives, threaten family relationships and empty personal and family savings. For more information about problem gambling in Minnesota, visit NorthstarProblemGambling.org.  

About Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance 
Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance is a nonprofit, gambling-neutral organization dedicated to improving the lives of Minnesotans affected by problem gambling. A 501 (c)(3) nonprofit, NPGA is funded by membership fees, financial and in-kind donations, and state and private grants. NPGA serves as Minnesota’s affiliate to the National Council on Problem Gambling.  

About Minnesota Lottery 
The Minnesota Lottery raises money for programs that positively impact the lives of Minnesotans. It offers uniquely Minnesotan games of chance that are held to the highest standard of integrity and security. Since 1990, the Lottery has returned more than $2.9 billion to programs that benefit all Minnesotans, including the state’s most precious natural resources, education, health care and more.

 ###