The New Jersey Lottery has a holiday message: Gift responsibly this season, and do not give lottery tickets to children.

Executive Director Carole Hedinger said the Lottery's annual holiday message, in concert with The Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey and others, is that lottery ticket's are not "child's play," and giving tickets to kids is discouraged.

"We know that as a practice, it is a tempting thing to put Lottery tickets into people's stockings," she said.

Hedinger said the Lottery has have garnered a number of awards for its campaign, including from the World Lottery Association and The National Counsel on Problem Gambling.

"We take it very seriously throughout the year, not just at the holiday season, but all through the year, that people should play responsibly," she said.

She said a minor can hold a winning ticket by law in New Jersey, but it would go into a trust through a parent or guardian. But in general, "we think that children are vulnerable, and that they should play with toys, not with lottery tickets," she said.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5.

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