For starters, let's get the glaringly obvious question out of the way first, shall we?

Isn't it illegal for kids to gamble?

Well, it's a little bit interesting.

According to NIH.Gov, it is a misdemeanor to sell a lottery ticket to a child, however, it is NOT illegal to give a minor a lottery ticket as a gift.

For example, if a child hands you their own dollar, and asks you to buy a ticket for them with their own money, that is technically against the law. But, if you buy a lotto yourself and give it to them, then it's okay.

Maine State Lottery
Maine State Lottery

Do Maine Kids Really Have a Gambling Problem?

The short answer is "yes."

However, the issue isn't widespread.

According to an article published by WABI, The National Council on Problem Gambling reports that about 2.2% of Maine kids, ages 14-18, have reported some kind of addiction when it comes to gambling. Experts warn that some of those issues could stem from adults giving scratch tickets as stocking stuffers or swapping gifts to kids, the news station reported.

WABI stated that those same experts say that during the teen years, a child's under-developed brain can become addicted more easily than a fully developed adult brain.

So, even though it might seem harmless to gift a kid a chance at some serious cash, it can have a much more sinister effect on the child's development.

Maine Lottery Scratch Ticket
Maine Lottery Scratch Ticket

What Do The Experts Say About Children Gambling?

Lori Mason, the problem gambling coordinator at AdCare ME, told WABI in part,

“It was a big surprise to me when I found out that research has shown that gifting youth with lottery products such as scratch tickets can actually be a risk factor for developing a gambling problem. That’s supported by multiple studies from the National council on problem gambling, but why? It’s partially because their brain hasn’t fully developed yet. 2.2% of Maine students ages 14-18 report that they have a problem with gambling and that problem isn’t just financial. Gambling problems cause trouble in family life, with their friends, with their schoolwork.”

She concluded her thoughts on the issue by saying that The National Council on Problem Gambling started a campaign called the "Annual Gift Responsibly Campaign," which says there are better and more responsible gifts to give children.

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