The New Jersey Lottery and the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey have kicked off their annual holiday gifting awareness campaign.

Acting Lottery Director James Carey said the message is a very simple but important one right now: "Every year, we have a holiday gifting awareness campaign to remind our customers and citizens of New Jersey that it is not a good idea to gift lottery tickets to children."

Carey said the earlier children begin to gamble, the more likely they are to develop gambling problems.

"Adults can recognize that a winning Lottery ticket is a stroke of luck, a random chance, but kids and teens have difficulty putting a win into perspective," he said. "They do not understand how gambling works.

"You are not going to win all of the time, you are only going to win a small percentage of the time. And a child who is lucky enough, if a child receives a Lottery ticket and it is a winner, they are not going to understand that not every ticket is a winner."

The Lottery is working in concert with the New Jersey Council on Compulsive gambling to get the word out.

"We are going to have our messaging that children should not be gambling and the Lottery is not child's play," Carey said. "We have that logo and that message on pencils that we have provided to the Council on Compulsive Gambling. Those pencils are going to be shared with teachers in schools across the state. It is on our Lottery terminals at retailers across the state. It is on many of our tickets."

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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