When playing the lottery, your children are watching your every move and emotion, from being sad or mad for not having won anything, to the laughing, jumping, and joy if you win even five dollars. However, is this overemotional behaviour a good thing or a bad thing? Seeing your highs and lows in response to the lottery can leave the wrong impression on their minds, and they can develop gambling issues when they are old enough to buy tickets themselves.
If your child watches you check your ticket at the kiosk and it’s a winner, that could trigger a belief in instant gratification. That’s not something you want your child to learn. In fact, you should talk to your children about the lottery and put it into perspective for them. As adults, we can recognize that winning the lottery is simply a random chance stroke of luck. Children don’t understand how gambling works and what it really entails. They can easily develop the wrong impression about gambling.
It is exceedingly important that you help your kids understand the impact of underage gambling (such as sports betting or poker playing with their friends) and that you make sure they keep away from it until they are adults and can make their own informed decisions. It is important to be aware that much research has proven a correlation between exposure to gambling as a child and potential gambling problems later in life.
Be totally honest and upfront about the lottery. Explain the odds of actually the winning the jackpot, or any prize for that matter. Emphasize that you play the lottery for fun and excitement in the very remote possibility that you could win something. It’s not the fact you might win. Explain that when you buy tickets, you know you probably won’t win anything, and that is perfectly fine. The fun is the possibility of winning something, even if it is a free ticket. To put the lottery into perspective for your kids, talk to them about your gambling activities and let them know all the risks of gambling, including lottery addiction and gambling problems.
Also, keep your lottery activities away from your children so they aren’t exposed to them. Try to restrict lottery purchases and validation to when your children are not with you. Kids are exposed to gambling images almost every day – from retailers and posters, to radio and TV ads, and you don’t want to expose them to any more than what is out there, especially to your own gambling activities.
It comes down to this: if they don’t see you buying or validating tickets, or see how you react to the lottery whether you win or don’t win, they will not be influenced to try it. And refrain from talking about the lottery around the kids, again the less they hear, the less they will be influenced. Early education about the lottery, and gambling in general, can help to reduce the chances of your children seeing the lottery as a quick way to make money, and keep them from developing gambling issues or addiction when they get older.