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State lottery: Don't give scratch-offs as gifts to minors

The Minnesota Lottery participates in an annual responsible gambling campaign focusing on underage lottery play during the holidays.

The Minnesota Lottery has issued an advisory asking Minnesotans not to give scratch cards as gifts to minors this Christmas.

The lottery each year joins with the Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance (NPGA) to encourage responsible gambling during the holiday season, and raise awareness of underage lottery play.

“A scratch-off ticket may provide momentary excitement, but underage recipients don’t have the cognitive development to discern the potential risks of gambling,” says Susan Sheridan Tucker, NPGA executive director.

"This is why tickets sales are limited to adults. When a trusted adult provides a ticket to a minor, it normalizes the activity as an acceptable practice."

The lottery says that the 2019 Minnesota Student Survey found that 0.5% of students had indicated "possible disordered gambling," while another 2% said they had problems with their gambling.

"This may seem like a small number, but it translates into 2,000 students," the lottery said in a statement.

"We know that a young person’s gambling starts as early as 10 years old. 30 percent surveyed indicated they had gambled in the last year and 7 percent said they gambled frequently (at least once a week or more).

"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."

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