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Responsible Play

Lottery Tickets Are Not Appropriate Gifts for Minors.

Lottery tickets aren't child's play. Gift responsibly.

Washington's Lottery is joining the Evergreen Council on Problem Gambling (ECPG) to warn parents and adults that lottery tickets are not appropriate gifts for children and teens under the age of 18. Lottery tickets are popular gifts during the holiday season—to be purchased by adults, for adults. Such gifts should only be given to adults 18 and over—who are mature enough to set limits and personal self controls. While legal, parents should avoid giving Lottery tickets as gifts to youngsters.

"Many adults enjoy gambling activities responsibly for recreation and entertainment," says ECPG Executive Director Maureen Greeley. "Few are aware, however, that problem gambling can begin in adolescence." In a recent discussion between a group of Washington teens and ECPG staff, most of the participating teens said that they were given their first lottery ticket by a parent. "Some problem gamblers get their start as early as ages 10, 11, and 12, when impulse and attention control are extremely vulnerable," notes Rhonda Stone, ECPG community education coordinator. "There are significant developmental reasons why lottery games and all forms of gambling are prohibited for anyone under 18."

State and provincial lotteries in the United States and Canada are joining state councils and the National Council on Problem Gambling ( to warn parents of the hazards associated with under-age lottery gambling. Teens and adults concerned about problem gambling are invited to call ECPG’s Washington State Problem Gambling Helpline at 1.800.547.6133. The Helpline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will refer callers to counseling available in Washington State, including low- and no-fee services available for those who cannot afford it. More information about problem gambling, including Gamblers Anonymous and GamAnon meetings available throughout Washington State, is available at