BALTIMORE – It’s that time of year when everyone is looking for the perfect gift. Maryland Lottery tickets — especially our holiday-themed scratch-offs — make great presents. But as you’re going over your gift list, keep in mind that Lottery tickets aren’t for children under the age of 18.
“We encourage everyone who plays Lottery games to enjoy them responsibly and remember that Lottery tickets should never be given to children,” said Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director John Martin. “A fundamental part of our product development and marketing efforts is to ensure that our tickets avoid appealing to children, and we work closely with our retailers to make sure that no one under 18 is buying or playing Lottery games.”
The Maryland Lottery strongly supports the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) in its Gift Responsibly Campaign, which raises awareness on the risks associated with underage gambling. NCPG previously sponsored an annual effort during the holiday season to remind Lottery players not to give tickets to children. The effort has been rebranded as the Gift Responsibly Campaign and offers messaging throughout the year.
This year, the Maryland Lottery achieved the top level of certification (Level 4) from the World Lottery Association (WLA). The international organization has a rigorous set of criteria that lotteries must meet to achieve Level 4 status. Lotteries must create checks and balances to ensure that products and promotions do not appeal to children or other vulnerable populations, and must commit to continuously enhancing and improving their responsible gambling efforts in order to maintain their certification. Maryland is one of 10 U.S. lotteries to achieve WLA Level 4 status.
The Lottery displays responsible play messages on all of its marketing and promotional materials. The messages include the 1-800-GAMBLER helpline, which is available 24 hours a day. Maryland residents are eligible for no-cost counseling, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. Information is available by calling the helpline number or visiting mdgamblinghelp.org.
“It’s important to remember that these resources are there to assist everyone,” Martin said. “If you have someone in your life who may have a problem, you can call and talk to a professional who can guide you in effective ways to get a conversation started.”
The Maryland Center of Excellence on Problem Gambling, a unit of the Maryland Department of Health, has joined the Lottery as a partner in the Gift Responsibly Campaign.
The Center of Excellence coordinates treatment services in Maryland through a network of licensed counselors across the state.