With the holiday season in full swing, BCLC is reminding adults that it’s okay to be a Grinch when it comes to removing lottery products from kids’ shopping lists and stockings.
“Early participation or exposure to gambling in childhood can increase the risk of developing a gambling problem later in life,” said Ryan McCarthy, Director of Player Health at BCLC. “Adults may be unaware of these associated risks so, as part of our commitment to healthy play, it’s a priority for us to share the message that lottery products should never be gifted to kids.”
Research shows that 10 to 14 per cent of adolescents are at risk for developing a problem with gambling, while four to six per cent of youth ages 12-17 are presently impacted by problem gambling. Studies conducted worldwide have found the average problem gambler started gambling at age 10.
“It’s never too early to start the conversation. While kids and gambling don’t mix, many teenagers are already doing it by betting on things like a card game, or by purchasing a virtual loot box,” said McCarthy, who offered the following tips to parents:
- Tailor the conversation to your child. For example, if they like video games, talk to them about loot boxes and how the outcome is random, and the risks posed.
- Tell them about the hidden signs of a problem, like hiding debt or skipping classes.
- Lead by example; kids learn from their parents.
As part of a partnership with the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) and McGill University’s International Centre for Youth Gambling, BCLC is also sharing its #GiftSmart message through reminders at its 3,400 lottery retailers in B.C. as well as on social media.