Lottery tickets can be unusual Christmas gifts, but officials say think of another holiday present for young people.
The Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling encourages adults not to give lottery tickets to underage children or teens as holiday gifts.
Executive Director Rose Blozinski says many problem gamblers report that they began gambling during childhood...
"..A lot times when someone became a problem gambler they say 'I started when I was young' and had a big win. It increases the risk of somebody becoming addicted to gambling so it's like wait until they're older so they can make their own choice and they can understand the risk involved..."
The National Council on Problem Gambling reports there is strong evidence suggesting that more than 70 percent of adolescents have gambled for money in the past year, approximately 30 percent report gambling on a weekly basis. Many started by age 9.
Spokesperson Kailey Bender, who works with the Wisconsin Lottery, echoed Blozinski's stance in keeping tickets away from youth. She says those games are only for people over age 18...
"Any kind of youth gambling can lead to high-risk behaviors. It's important to get the word out that gambling is not for those under age 18. We like to participate in the national campaign to remind others of it and do our part along with many other states and actually 100 percent of the lotteries across the United States and Canada are participating in that campaign..."
The Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling is funded by a grant from the State of Wisconsin and additional funding from donors, including Wisconsin Native American Tribes. The Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling operates a 24-hour Helpline at 1-800-GAMBLE-5.