This holiday season, the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) is warning people that “Lottery tickets are not child’s play.” The Council on Chemical Abuse is joining NCPG in raising awareness about the risks of youth gambling and the dangers of buying lottery tickets for children.
While lottery tickets are often perceived as a fun and easy gift, they can unwittingly make children and teens more vulnerable to future gambling problems. According to the NCPG:
“Early involvement in gambling can increase the risk of developing a gambling problem later in life.”
Berks County youth are not immune to this risk. Data from the 2021 Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS) revealed that a total of 28.5% of the Berks County middle school and high school students surveyed had engaged in “gambling for money or anything of value in their lifetime” (compared to 30.4% at the state level). “The most frequently reported form of gambling was ‘lottery [scratch cards, numbers, etc.]’ reported by 17.7% of Berks County students who had gambled in the past 12 months (compared to 18.3% at the state level),” according to the survey report.
“Despite being promoted as a harmless form of entertainment, gambling operates on the same reward pathways and the same neurotransmitters as ATOD (alcohol, tobacco and other drugs) addiction. Youth gambling is associated with alcohol and drug use, truancy, low grades, and risk-taking behavior,” authors of the survey report stated.
Need Help for a Gambling or Gaming Problem? Call 1-800 GAMBLER (426-2537) or visit the PA Council website.
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