The N.C. Education Lottery joins with the N.C. Problem Gambling Program to issue a reminder that lottery tickets are only for adults and anyone choosing to give them as gifts this holiday season should give responsibly.

“Our holiday-themed scratch-off tickets are intended as fun games for adults,” said Alice Garland, executive director of the N.C. Education Lottery. “So I would like to remind our players that you must be 18 to play the lottery and we will not award prizes to anyone under 18. If you decide to buy a lottery ticket as a gift, please keep the recipient’s age in mind.”

The Education Lottery prints a reminder of the restriction on lottery sales to minors on every instant ticket and trains retailers to check IDs before selling lottery tickets. The restriction is also enforced by law enforcement agencies in the state. Each holiday season the lottery joins an effort by the National Council on Problem Gambling and the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors at McGill University to discourage lottery tickets as gifts for minors.

“The holidays are a great time to talk with your kids about the risks associated with gambling and to help them understand that the best bets made in life aren’t made with gambling,” said Smith Worth, program administrator for the N.C. Problem Gambling Program. “Young people need to understand that gambling is not the way to make money, and that while no one sets out to become a problem gambler, for kids and adults alike, it happens too often.”

High school students were asked if they had participated in any type of gambling during the last year in the 2011 North Carolina Youth Behavior Risk Study. The survey found almost one-third of high school students reported some type of gambling with all grade levels (9th-12th) being almost equally likely to have gambled.

“One way to make a difference in preventing underage gambling is through collaborative partnerships like the one we have with the Education Lottery,” said Worth. “We appreciate the efforts the lottery makes to prevent sales of lottery tickets to minors.”

The Education Lottery provides $1 million a year to the N.C. Problem Gambling Program and is its primary source of funding. The program was established to provide and support effective prevention, education, outreach and treatment programs in the state. It also operates a helpline where people with any type of gambling problem or their family member can call. For assistance, call the N.C. Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-877-718-5543 or visit