Healthy Holiday Gifting Posted On

Did you know that gambling opportunities like scratch-offs are not a healthy gift for kids?  Gambling at a young age puts youth at risk for other risky behaviors, and it all start with the brain. 

The Young Brain

The brains of youth are not fully developed until they reach the age of 25.  It’s during this time of development that youth are learning who they are and what they like.  They experiment by challenging people and testing boundaries to learn and figure out their place in the world.  This is why they seem to bounce back-and-forth between friendships, hobbies, interests, and how they treat those around them.  During this time of development, youth need healthy activities and role models to stay on track to grow into healthy young adults. 

Gambling activities, like scratch-off tickets, are not healthy activities for youth.  Those who buy a scratch-off or a lottery ticket for a youth is inviting them to gamble. Inviting youth to gamble could put them on track to a future of problems, like an addiction to gambling. 

Youth And Gambling 

Many people who struggle with problem gambling started gambling before the age of 10. Some activities include scratch-offs, bingo, and other forms of gambling that love ones may not have realized would be a problem in the future.  It’s important to know that youth are 2x more likely to struggle with problem gambling than the general public.

Youth are 2x more likely to struggle with problem gambling.

Youth who gamble are more likely to be involved in delinquent behavior and crime.  Additionally, they have lower performance in school, and may struggling with other addictive behaviors like using drugs and alcohol. This is why it’s important to make sure that love ones are getting gifts that are appropriate for our youth’s developing minds. 

Healthy Holiday Gifting

What do you do if a loved one wants to buy your youth a scratch-off ticket? This could be a really uncomfortable conversation, especially because the person wanting to purchase this ticket as a gift could be a parent or grandparent. Since scratch-offs and other gambling activities can be harmful for the future of your youth, it’s important to know what to do, and what to say, in these situations. 

Have a conversation. Have a conversation about gifts that are appropriate for your kids, and explain that scratch-offs are not appropriate for youth.  Take this time to explain the risks and consequences involved in youth gambling.  Awareness can help your love ones understand why these types of gifts are not appropriate for youth. 

Have gift ideas ready.  Most people want to know what to get for your youth.  Try to have a list on hand that includes what your youth are interested in and what specific items they may want.  By helping your family and loved ones find success getting gifts for your youth, you help them make better gifting choices, too. 

Learn more about youth gambling. Learning more about youth problem gambling is a great way to better understand how to keep your kids safe. There are many resources available to help you understand what problem gaming is and what to do if your youth may be struggling with gambling. 

Helpful Resources

YOU(th) Decide is a great resource to learn about the risks and consequences of youth gambling.  This project aims to empower youth to make healthy choices, and prepares communities to take action to reduce youth access to gambling activities.  It’s a great resource and a way to connect with local providers to learn how you and your youth can participate and help.

Another great resource is The Dangers of Youth Gambling Ebook.  The information covered ranges from youth gambling activities and warning signs to help tips and resources.  Reading through this resource will give you a great understanding of youth gambling.

Finally, visit  This site is the New York State hub for regional Problem Gambling Resource Centers (PGRCs) across the state.  Connect with your local PGRC to learn about local resources that can assist you and your family in treatment and recovery for problem gambling.

Hopefully you and your loved ones will be getting your kids fantastic gifts that show love and support.  Enjoy a wonderful holiday season!