'Tis the season for responsible gifting

State Lotteries go all out to promote their holiday scratch-offs as great gift ideas for all persons over the age of 18.

'Tis the season for responsible gifting

Put a bow on it

Featuring holiday-themed designs and prizes capping off at sums numbering in the millions of dollars, U.S. state lotteries enjoy singing the praises of scratch-off tickets and, especially this time of year, giving them as gifts.

However, along with promoting the portable games as versatile, fun, whimsical gift-giving options, the state lotteries also have made it a priority to educate players and the public at large on the importance of responsible play and, in tune with the season, responsible gifting.

Holiday scratch-offs across America

By and large, the idea of giving scratchers as stocking stuffers and Secret Santa presents has become a revered holiday tradition among gift-givers of all ages. As such, in appreciation of the tickets’ popularity during the holiday season, state lotteries have pulled out all the bells and whistles to sell tickets.

From California on the West Coast to Delaware on the East Coast and more than 48 states plus, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands in between, U.S.’ collective of state lotteries are going all out to dazzle and delight shoppers with their alluring line-up of holiday-themed scratch-off tickets.

State lottery games & campaigns - ‘Play off’ the holidays

Similar in that they all gleefully sing the praises of scratch-off tickets and proclaim them the gift worth giving, state lotteries diverge in the specific styles and dollar amounts of the games they offer and the creative messaging they use to build excitement.

Take, for example, some of the following holiday scratch-off games land promotional campaigns states have employed this year to drum up sales:

Florida — Triple Match Holiday is a holiday scratch-off ticket offering three ways to play.

Ohio — ‘Gnome for the Holidays,’ ‘Merry & Bright’ and the ‘Most Wonderful Time of Year’ are just a few of the festively-named scratch-off tickets in the Buckeye state’s repertoire.

Texas — The Alamo State has chosen to use the ‘Win at Gifting’ slogan this year as an incentive to buy scratch-off tickets.

Indiana — Hawkeyes have brought forth their ‘Tis the year to bring the cheer’ and ‘Tis the season to give scatch-offs for any reason’ mottos to help drive home the holiday buying season.

North Carolina — Tapping into the idea of hope and winning possibilities, the Tar Heel State’s seasonal messaging, ‘Give the Gift of Dreaming,’ imparts the idea of hope and a suspended reality where one’s financial concerns are but a mere memory.

Finding balance

Trying to maintain a sense of balance between the promotion of scratch-off tickets and the promotion of responsible gift-giving, state lotteries seek a middle ground whereby while determined to ramp up sales, they are also dedicated to educating persons on the perils of giving scratch-offs as gifts to underage persons.

‘Gift Responsibly’ campaign

Joining forces at the national level with the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG)’s ‘Gift Responsibly’ and ‘Lottery Tickets Aren’t Child’s Play’ holiday campaign, more than 66 lotteries around the world have taken on the role of responsible lottery ambassador seeking to educate, inform and deter those underage (not a legal option until persons turn 18) from playing the lottery, in any form.

As stated on the NCPG’s website, “The Campaign was founded in response to research showing that early childhood gambling exposure, especially lottery play, can increase the risk of developing gambling problems later in life.”

Supporting the validity of this statement, NCPG’s Executive Director Keith Whyte, stated, “Lottery games should never be given to minors, during the holidays or at any other time. Childhood exposure to lottery products can lead to lifelong problems, and youth problem gambling is a public health issue.”

Hence, to spread the word and discourage underage usage of scratch-off tickets, state lotteries have taken to using witty, fun marketing/PR campaigns. Consider the following public service campaigns California and New York state lotteries have employed to reinforce the NCPG’s messaging:

  • California — ‘Scratchers Aren’t Toys’
  • New York — ‘Responsibility is Always a Bright Idea’ and ‘Never gift Lottery tickets to kids.’

Of the state’s advocacy push, New York’s Lottery Director Gweneth Dean, relayed, “This campaign provides a good opportunity for us to educate players, retailers, marketers, and gift givers, about the importance of discouraging underage lottery play… underaged gamblers have a greater likelihood of developing gambling problems later in life.”

A little play goes a long way

As state lotteries set their sights sky-high this holiday season, it doesn’t mean that it’s time to break out the bubbly or plan a big celebration.

Content to have a little fun just scratching and checking a few tickets for winners, players need not go for broke either as a user or a gift-giver.

Hence, when it comes time to wrap up the holiday shopping, due to the vast array of scratch-off tickets available this year, the hardest part may just be choosing which ones to buy.


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