Responsible & Regulated

Knowing the risks of buying tickets for minors

It’s a message Atlantic Lottery reminds adults of every year: don’t buy lottery tickets as a holiday gift for minors.

In Atlantic Canada, gambling products and entertainment facilities are only legally available for sale to adults 19 years of age and older. This is because our brains are not fully developed at a young age. Until the brain is fully mature, children and teenagers aren’t equipped to consider the consequences of their decisions. Instead, they are more likely to act impulsively and take risks.

Ashley McGuigan, a corporate social responsibility business partner at Atlantic Lottery  recently sat down to discuss this theme with Dr. Bruce Ballon, an associate professor of psychiatry and public health at the University of Toronto. He also was the creator and head of both the Youth Addiction and Concurrent Disorders Program and the Advanced Clinical and Educational Services at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

In the first of three topics, Dr. Ballon explored the risks from the point of view of the receiver of the gift, saying the young person may not fully understand the meaning of a lottery ticket and what comes along with such a gift.


Next, they considered the giver of the gift. Although a Scratch’N Win or other lottery ticket may be an easy gift to give, Dr. Ballon said adults should stop and ask themselves why they want to give a ticket to a minor.


Finally, Dr. Ballon talked about some other ways adults can give a gift with added meaning to a young person in their life.


Ultimately, Dr. Ballon said lottery tickets aren’t appropriate gifts for adults to give to minors, during the holidays or any time during the year, due to the added potential risk of exposing young people to gambling.

“I always like to ask them, ‘What’s the reason you want to do that? Why not give them something else?’” he said. “Why take the risk of doing that if you don’t have to?”