It’s your daughter’s tenth birthday—a milestone occasion. Presents are chosen and exquisitely wrapped—a necklace with her birthstone, a selection of age-appropriate DVDs. A maltese terrier puppy! A Cash For Life scratch-and-win lottery ticket.
Better re-think the latter selection, according to The Vancouver Sun, unless, of course, you potentially want to give your precious child the gift that keeps on giving—otherwise known as a lifetime addiction to gambling.
The Sun article cites the combined efforts of the McGill International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviours and all the Canadian lottery corporations in their joint campaign to discourage the practice of gifting susceptible young people with lottery tickets, which may put them at a greater risk for developing gambling issues.
Jeffrey Derevensky, a co-director at the McGill Centre says that adolescents, who are particularly susceptible to the adrenaline rush of an instant win, are more likely than their adult counterparts to become problematic gamblers.
There is good reason why the sale of lottery tickets are restricted to adults and the perils of gambling aren’t the only focus of concern, the Sun piece points out. It’s more important for children to learn the value of commitment, effort and hard work than to rest their hopes and ambitions in the magical thinking that governs scratching and winning, opine the experts.
Kids who gamble often exhibit dramatic changes in personality, mood, social pursuits and interests. They may become angry, and appear stressed or anxious, says The Sun, which would make their behaviours pretty much indistinguishable from teens that don’t gamble.
So next time you’re tempted to add a Bingo card to a Christmas stocking or a birthday card, think about the gamble you may be taking with your child’s future and remember– some itches are better left unscratched.
Do you know anyone who has a problem with scratch lottery tickets?