Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 127–153 | Cite as

Lottery Playing Amongst Youth: Implications for Prevention and Social Policy

  • Jennifer R. Felsher
  • Jeffrey L. Derevensky
  • Rina Gupta


Factors associated with lottery ticket purchases, accessibility of lottery products, and lottery playing behaviour amongst 1,072 youth (ages 10–18 years old, mean age 14 years-old) was examined. Playing the lottery was found to be the most popular gambling activity with youth reporting playing all forms of lottery tickets including draws, scratch tickets, and sports lottery tickets. Youth reported beginning to play the lottery at age 12, with scratch ticket participation being amongst the most highly reported type of lottery activity with the youngest age of onset. The vast majority of youth are aware of the legal age to purchase tickets although many believed that there should be no age requirement to purchase any form of lottery ticket. Youth, regardless of their age, reported few if any difficulties in purchasing lottery tickets. Moreover, a third of underage youth reported going to the store specifically to purchase lottery tickets with this behaviour increasing with the age of the participant. This research confirms previous findings that lottery tickets are highly accessible to underage youth despite legal prohibitions. The results provide valuable information that can be subsequently used in the development of responsible social policy and youth gambling prevention programs


Gambling Activity Lottery Ticket Youth Reporting Gambling Prevention Youth Gambling 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Azimer, J. (2000). Canadian gambling behaviour and attitudes. Gambling in Canada Research Report (No. 8), Calgary: Canada West Foundation.Google Scholar
  2. Browne, B. A., & Brown, D. J. (1994). Predictors of lottery gambling among American college students. The Journal of Social Psychology, 134, 339-347.Google Scholar
  3. Canadian Foundation on Compulsive Gambling (Ontario). (1994). An exploration of the prevalence and pathological gambling behaviour among adolescents in Ontario. Toronto: Insight Canada Research.Google Scholar
  4. Clotfelter, C. T., & Cook, P. (1987). Selling hope: State lotteries in America. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Custer, R. L., & Milt, H. (1985). When luck runs out. New York: Facts on File Publications.Google Scholar
  6. Dell, L. J., Ruzika, M. F., & Palisi, A. T. (1981). Personality and other factors associated with gambling addiction. International Journal of Addictions, 16, 149-156.Google Scholar
  7. Derevensky, J. L., & Gupta, R. (1998a, June). Youth gambling: Prevalence, risk factors, clinical issues, and social policy. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Psychological Association, Edmonton, Alberta.Google Scholar
  8. Derevensky, J. L., & Gupta, R. (1998b). Work in progress: Child and adolescent gambling problems: A program of research. Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 14, 55-58.Google Scholar
  9. Felsher, J. R., Derevensky, J L., & Gupta, R. (2003). Parental influences and social modelling of youth lottery participation. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 13, 361-377.Google Scholar
  10. Felsher, J. R.,Gupta, R., & Derevensky, J L. (2001, June). An examination of lottery ticket purchases by minors. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Council on Problem Gambling, Seattle, Washington.Google Scholar
  11. Garner, C. (1995, June)). It could be YOUR child. The Sunday Mirror, pp. 4-5.Google Scholar
  12. Govoni, R., Rupcich, N., & Frisch, G. R. (1996). Gambling behaviour of adolescent gamblers. Journal of Gambling Studies, 12, 305-318.Google Scholar
  13. Griffiths, M. D., & Dunbar, D. (1997). The role of familiarity in fruit machine gambling. Society for the Study of Gambling Newsletter, 29, 15-20.Google Scholar
  14. Griffiths, M. D., & Wood, R. T. (1999). Lottery gambling and addiction: An overview of European research: Paper presented at the Association of European National Lotteries (AELLE), Lausanne, Switzerland.Google Scholar
  15. Gupta, R., & Derevensky, J. L. (1996). The relationship between gambling and video game playing behaviour in children and adolescents. Journal of Gambling Studies, 12, 375-394.Google Scholar
  16. Gupta, R., & Derevensky, J. L. (1998a). Adolescent gambling behaviour: A prevalence study and examination of the correlates associated with problem gambling. Journal of Gambling Studies, 14, 319-343.Google Scholar
  17. Gupta, R., & Derevensky, J. L. (1998b). An empirical examination of Jacob's General Theory of Addictions: Do adolescent gamblers fit the theory? Journal of Gambling Studies, 14, 17-49.Google Scholar
  18. Huxley, J., & Carroll, D. (1992). A survey of fruit machine gambling in adolescents. Journal of Gambling Studies, 8, 167-179.Google Scholar
  19. Independent Television Commission (1995). Child's eye-view. Spectrum, 17, 24.Google Scholar
  20. Jacobs, D. F. (2000). Juvenile gambling in North America: An analysis of long-term trends and future prospects. Journal of Gambling Studies, 16, 119-151.Google Scholar
  21. Kaplan, R. (1989). State lotteries: Should government be a player? In H. J Shaffer, S. A. Stein., B. Gambino., & T.N Cummings. (Eds.), Compulsive gambling: Theory, research and practice. Lexington Books, Boston, Massachusetts.Google Scholar
  22. Korn, D., & Shaffer, H. J. (1999). Gambling and the health of the public: Adopting a public health perspective. Journal of Gambling Studies, 15, 289-365.Google Scholar
  23. Ladouceur, R. (1996). The prevalence of pathological gambling in Canada. Journal of Gambling Studies, 12, 129-142.Google Scholar
  24. Ladouceur, R., & Mireault, C. (1988). Gambling behaviour among high school students in the Quebec area. Journal of Gambling Behaviour, 4, 3-12.Google Scholar
  25. Lesieur, H. R., & Klein, R. (1987). Pathological gambling among high school students. Addictive Behaviours, 12, 129-135.Google Scholar
  26. Lottery Insights (2001). Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLGC) advertising. The Official Publication of the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries, 2(3), 16-18.Google Scholar
  27. Macdonald, M. (1995, May). Shopkeepers break ban on child gamblers. The Independent, p. 3.Google Scholar
  28. Moran, E. (1995). Majority of secondary school children buy tickets. British Medical Journal, 311, 1225-1226.Google Scholar
  29. National Research Council (1999). Pathological gambling: A critical review. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  30. Parke, J. & Griffiths, M. D. (2001, February). The psychology of the fruit machine: The role of structural characteristics (revisited). Paper presented at the future of slot machines in the UK conference, London, England.Google Scholar
  31. Saunders, Carol Silverman. (1999). Straight talk about teenage gambling. Facts on File Publications, New York.Google Scholar
  32. Shaffer, H. J., & Hall, M. N. (1996). Estimating the prevalence of adolescent gambling disorders: A quantitative synthesis and guide toward standard gambling nomenclature. Journal of Gambling Studies, 12, 193-214.Google Scholar
  33. Shaffer, H. J., & Hall, M. N. (2001). Updating and refining prevalence estimates of disordered gambling behaviour in the United States and Canada. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 92, 168-172.Google Scholar
  34. Shaffer, H. J., & Zinberg, N. E. (1994). The emergence of youthful addiction: The prevalence of underage lottery use and the impact of gambling. Technical Report for the Massachusetts Council in Compulsive Gambling (011394-100).Google Scholar
  35. Stinchfield, R., & Winters, K. C. (1998). Gambling and problem gambling among youth. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 556, 172-185.Google Scholar
  36. Volberg, R. H., & Moore, W. I. (1999). Gambling and problem gambling among adolescents in Washington State: A replication study, 1993–1999. A report to the Washington State Lottery. Gemini Research.Google Scholar
  37. Walker, M. B. (1992). The psychology of gambling. Oxford, Butterworth-Heinermann Ltd.Google Scholar
  38. Westphal, J. R., Rush, J. A., Stevens, L., & Johnson, L. J. (1998a, August). Pathological gambling among Louisiana students: Grades six through twelve. Paper presented at the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting. Toronto, Canada.Google Scholar
  39. Winters, K. C., Stinchfield, R. D., & Kim, L. G. (1995). Monitoring adolescent gambling in Minnesota. Journal of Gambling Studies, 11, 165-183.Google Scholar
  40. Wood, R, T., & Griffiths, M. D. (1998). The acquisition, development, and maintenance of lottery and scratchcard gambling in adolescence. Journal of Adolescence, 21, 265-273.Google Scholar
  41. Wood, R. T., & Griffiths, M. D. (2001). Adolescent lottery and scratchcard players: Do their attitudes influence their gambling behaviour? Social Psychology Review, 3, 48-56.Google Scholar
  42. Wynne, H. J., Smith, G. J., & Jacobs, D. F. (1996). Adolescent gambling and problem gambling in Alberta. Prepared for the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission. Edmonton: Wynne Resources LTD.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer R. Felsher
    • 1
  • Jeffrey L. Derevensky
    • 2
  • Rina Gupta
    • 2
  1. 1.International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk BehavioursMcGill UniversityMontreal
  2. 2.McGill UniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations