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In the biggest “no shit” story for Christmas, the Problem Gambling Help Network is discouraging gambling games be given as gifts to children. And we would like to add that alcohol and cigarettes are also not appropriate… just to avoid any confusion.
Yes, although the holidays are a time for family, friends, and turkey with stiffing, the Problem Gambling Help Network wants us all to remember that we should not stuff kids stockings with casino games or lottery tickets. After all, we all know that kids under 10 frequently request scratch cards as gifts instead of candy or toys.
Although it should be obvious to any responsible parent, it seems the Network must justify their existence in new ways this Christmas season. Perhaps they are up for a new round of financing soon? So, they did want us to pass the word that sports betting gift cards and other gambling games would not be the way to go for school aged kids.
Of course, we are just a bit sarcastic here at This Week in Gambling. After all, we strongly support responsible betting and cannot imagine a world where parents actually gift a 9 year old with a miniature craps table. However, a survey of middle and high school students recently revealed that 18% admitted to placing bets on sporting events.
In fact, that study suggests that many kids say their first gambling experiences happened when they were about 10 years of age. And while the influence of gambling could just as easily be blamed on peer pressure as anything else, we must agree that even one child placing a bet is too many.
If gambling games are an issue for someone dear to you, there is always help via the Problem Gambling Help Network at 1-800-GAMBLER, or visit GetAheadOfTheGame.net.