Gambling-related attitudes and behaviors in adolescents having received instant (scratch) lottery tickets as gifts

Abstract

Objective: Instant (scratch) lottery ticket gambling is popular among adolescents. Prior research has not determined whether adolescents' gambling behavior and attitudes toward gambling are influenced by the receipt of scratch lottery tickets as gifts. Method: Cross-sectional survey data from 2,002 Connecticut high school students with past-year gambling were analyzed using bivariate approaches and logistic regression analyses. Interactions between gambling-problem severity and lottery-gift status were examined in relation to multiple outcomes. Results: Adolescents who received a scratch lottery ticket as a gift compared with those who did not were more likely to report features of problem gambling, buy scratch lottery tickets for themselves, and buy and receive other types of lottery tickets; they were also less likely to report parental disapproval of gambling and to see gambling prevention efforts as important. Later ( >15 years) age-at-gambling-onset was inversely linked to gambling-problem severity in the lottery gift group (odds ratio [OR] = .38) but not in the nongift group (OR = .91), yielding a significant severity by gift status interaction. Other academic, health, and gambling-related correlates of gambling-problem severity were similar in the gift and nongift groups. Conclusions: For adolescents, the receipt of scratch lottery tickets as gifts during childhood or adolescence was associated with risky/problematic gambling and with gambling-related attitudes, behaviors, and views suggesting greater gambling acceptability. The extent to which the receipt of scratch lottery tickets may promote gambling behaviors and the development of gambling problems warrants consideration. Education, prevention, and treatment strategies should incorporate findings relating to receipt of gambling products by underage individuals.

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