Efforts to Increase Awareness of the Risks of Youth Gambling

Stark County Mental Health & Addiction Recovery (StarkMHAR) today announced its commitment as a participant in the 2022 Gift Responsibly Campaign, joining lotteries and community organizations across the country and around the world to raise awareness about the risks of buying lottery tickets for children.

The campaign is organized by the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) and the International Center for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors at McGill University.

Research shows that the earlier a person’s participation or even exposure to gambling is in childhood, the more likely they are to develop a gambling problem later in life. Gambling exposure during childhood is often through some kind of lottery product, given by an adult who is likely unaware of the associated risks.

“While picking up some instant lotto tickets might seem like a great last-minute gift idea, we encourage people to consider choosing something else when young people, even older teens, are the recipients,” said Justina Gorman, who heads up the Drug-Free Stark County Coalition which is housed at StarkMHAR. “Gambling, even with lottery tickets, has been linked to problem gambling down the road – and we know that’s not anyone’s intention,” Gorman continued.

StarkMHAR will work to raise awareness about the risks of youth gambling throughout December via various strategies, including community education and awareness.

“Youth problem gambling has emerged as a significant and growing public health issue. We applaud StarkMHAR’s commitment to raising awareness about risks of youth gambling through the Gift Responsibly Campaign,” said Keith Whyte, NCPG Executive Director. “Our message is a simple one: lottery tickets are never appropriate gifts for children.”

About the National Council on Problem Gambling

The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) is neutral on legalized gambling. Based in Washington DC, NCPG is the only national nonprofit organization that seeks to minimize the economic and social costs associated with gambling addiction. If you or someone you know may have a gambling problem, contact the National Problem Gambling Helpline, which offers hope and help without stigma or shame. Call or text 1-800-GAMBLER or visit www.1800gamblerchat.org. Help is available 24/7 – it is free and confidential.

About International Center for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors at McGill University

For over 20 years, the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviours at McGill University has been at the forefront of leading-edge research aimed at identifying and understanding the critical factors related to youth gambling issues.

About Stark County Mental Health & Addiction Recovery

Stark County Mental Health & Addiction Recovery is a multi-faceted organization of expert professionals, dedicated volunteers and concerned community leaders close to mental health and addiction needs right here at home. StarkMHAR is responsible for planning, funding, and monitoring public mental health and addiction prevention, early intervention, and treatment services delivered to the residents of Stark County. It is one of approximately 50 boards coordinating the public behavioral health system across Ohio. StarkMHAR also advocates for residents with behavioral health issues at both the local and state levels and provides educational opportunities for local providers and other community stakeholders. For more online about the work of StarkMHAR, visit www.StarkMHAR.org.

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