Lottery playing amongst youth: Implications for prevention and social policy

Abstract

Factors associated with lottery ticket purchases, accessibility of lottery products, and lottery playing behaviour amongst 1,072 youth (ages 10-18 years old, mean age 14 years-old) was examined. Playing the lottery was found to be the most popular gambling activity with youth reporting playing all forms of lottery tickets including draws, scratch tickets, and sports lottery tickets. Youth reported beginning to play the lottery at age 12, with scratch ticket participation being amongst the most highly reported type of lottery activity with the youngest age of onset. The vast majority of youth are aware of the legal age to purchase tickets although many believed that there should be no age requirement to purchase any form of lottery ticket. Youth, regardless of their age, reported few if any difficulties in purchasing lottery tickets. Moreover, a third of underage youth reported going to the store specifically to purchase lottery tickets with this behaviour increasing with the age of the participant. This research confirms previous findings that lottery tickets are highly accessible to underage youth despite legal prohibitions. The results provide valuable information that can be subsequently used in the development of responsible social policy and youth gambling prevention programs

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