COLUMBUS, OHIO - The season of giving is upon us and with it comes the need to find the perfect gift. While buying a scratch-off ticket from your local lottery retailer may seem like a quick and easy last-minute gift, Problem Gambling Network of Ohio (PGNO) is reminding adults that lottery tickets are not suitable gifts for those under 18.
A participant in the Gift Responsibly campaign, PGNO joins community agencies and lotteries nationwide—including the Ohio Lottery Commission—in raising awareness of the risks associated with childhood exposure to gambling. The campaign is organized by the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) and the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors at McGill University.
Research shows that early exposure to gambling increases the likelihood of developing a gambling disorder as an adult. For children, this often comes in the form of some kind of lottery product, given by an adult who is likely unaware of the associated risks.
“We invite community members, coalitions, and public health organizations to join us in spreading awareness of underage gambling this holiday season,” said PGNO Executive Director Derek Longmeier. “As the holidays approach, lottery tickets can seem like an easy gift; however, it’s important to remember ‘it’s the thought that counts’ is also a reminder to make sure your gift giving is appropriate.”
PGNO has signed on to the campaign and will work to raise awareness about the risks of youth gambling during the height of gift giving this year. In addition to social media posts and newsletters to behavioral health organizations, PGNO has developed free materials for lottery retailers to display throughout the holiday season. These materials are available to download at PGNOhio.org/GiftResponsibly, along with additional information regarding the campaign.
“Youth problem gambling has emerged as a significant and growing public health issue. We applaud PGNO’s commitment to raising awareness about the risks of youth gambling through the gift responsibly campaign,” said Keith White, NCPG Executive Director.
Ohio has a longstanding commitment to preventing underage gambling. The Change the Game Ohio campaign aims to stop youth gambling before it happens and educate adults on the signs of a potential gambling problem in adolescents. For more information visit ChangeTheGameOhio.org.
Problem gambling treatment is available at low or no cost to Ohioans. The Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline operates 24/7 at 1-800-589-9966 to provide resources to callers. Specialists can also connect callers with treatment options within 24 hours. Those struggling with a gambling problem, as well as their loved ones, can also visit GamblingHelpOhio.org to find gambling support close to home.