Play Smart, Gift Smart This Holiday Season

December 18, 2023 | Government

N.C. Education Lottery asks public to help keep lottery tickets out of hands of kids

RALEIGH – Lottery tickets can make great last-minute holiday gifts for the adults in your life, but not for children or teens.

That’s the message the N.C. Education Lottery and the N.C. Problem Gambling Program are asking the public to help share this holiday season.

“Buying scratch-offs as holiday gifts has become part of North Carolina culture,” said Mark Michalko, executive director of the N.C. Education Lottery. “We want to keep that tradition alive, but remind everyone that the lottery is not a kid’s game. We ask North Carolinians to keep the fun for the adults and partner with us to prevent lottery tickets from ending up in the hands of minors.”

The lottery and the N.C. Problem Gambling Program are joining more than 150 lotteries and organizations around the world in an annual holiday prevention campaign – Gift Responsibly 2023 – organized by the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) and the International Center for Youth Gambling and High-Risk Behaviors.

“The potential long-term risks associated with underage gambling exposure cannot be understated,” said Keith Whyte, NCPG Executive Director. “I commend each Gift Responsibly Campaign participant for their commitment to raising awareness about the risks of youth gambling. Now, more than ever, we must continue to insist that lottery tickets are never appropriate gifts for children.”

To help raise awareness, the lottery shares ‘gift smart’ messaging” on social media posts, on point-of-sale and multi-media monitors in stores that sell lottery tickets, in a media release, and on its popular website, it even prints the message on lottery tickets for draw games such as Powerball.

The lottery encourages the public to Play Smart ™ as part of commitments made when becoming one of the most responsible lotteries in the world. This accreditation from the World Lottery Association attests that the lottery has implemented responsible gaming practices into its day-to-day operations and is committed to continuous improvement of them.

Besides supporting the holiday campaign, the lottery takes steps year-round to prevent those under 18 from playing. They include:

  • Printing “You Must Be 18 Years of Age To Play” reminders on tickets 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 a 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.

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

SOURCE: N.C. Education Lottery.

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