NCEL: Lottery tickets make great last minute gifts, just not for children

Published 4:04 pm Sunday, December 20, 2020

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Lottery tickets make great last minute gifts, but not for children.” That’s the message the North Carolina Education Lottery (NCEL) and the North Carolina Problem Gambling Program are asking the public to help share this holiday season.

“As we know from talking with lottery winners, many folks in our state give lottery tickets as gifts during the holiday season,” said Mark Michalko, NCEL executive director. “We want to keep that tradition alive, but also prevent lottery tickets from ending up in the hands of minors.”

To help spread the message, NCEL and the North Carolina Problem Gambling Program are joining more than 80 lotteries and organizations around the world in an annual holiday prevention campaign.

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“We know that some who experience a problem with gambling report their first experience came from playing when they were young,” said Amanda Winters, state administrator of the N.C. Problem Gambling Program. “That’s why this campaign is so important. We encourage everyone to partner with us and the North Carolina Education Lottery in helping to remind folks that lottery games are not for children under 18.”


Courtesy NCEL

In addition to supporting the holiday campaign, NCEL reports that it takes steps year-round to prevent those under 18 from playing, including:

– Printing a “You Must Be 18 Years of Age To Play” reminder on every ticket and advertising and marketing materials.

– Requiring scans of drivers’ licenses before accessing lottery vending machines.

– Training lottery retailers to check IDs before selling lottery tickets.

– Enforcing the no sales to a minor law in a partnership with state law enforcement agencies.

– Providing $1 million per year to support the N.C. Problem Gambling Program, which provides an evidence-based gambling prevention program to middle school and high school students in the state.

“The lottery’s efforts in promoting responsible play are part of its corporate social responsibility program and are commitments the lottery made as it achieved the highest level of responsible gaming certification recognized internationally,” stated an NCEL press release. “The Level 4 accreditation from the World Lottery Association attested that the lottery has implemented responsible gaming practices into its day-to-day operations and is committed to continuous improvement of them.”

For more information on the campaign, visit If you or someone you know has a problem with gambling, visit



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