Don’t gift a graduate scratch-off tickets. Here’s why.

With commencement just around the corner, graduation parties are already in full swing and gifting appropriately is certainly on the minds of many relatives and friends of the Class of 2019.

Doubtless many of this class will receive gifts in the form of scratch off tickets. With some examination, the practice is a poor idea that could even create problems for the recipient.

First, there is the legality issue involved. While it is legal for a minor to play the lottery, they may not purchase a ticket or redeem a winning ticket themselves.

So suppose you bestow $20 of scratch tickets to a graduate, who actually gets lucky and gets a $50 winner. At this point, their parent must sign for the prize, and persons in dire financial straits might not share the full prize with the recipient in the first place.

Parents may also resent their child being gifted a ticket essentially forcing the child to gamble or “throw money away.”

Second, gifting scratch tickets is essentially the same as determining the amount you want to give and then throwing a third of that in the trash.

According to the Iowa Lottery website, scratch ticket prizes for the year ending June 30, 2018, amounted to 66% of sales.

A gift recipient will almost surely leave the interaction feeling a little dejected that they didn’t win big, or win at all.

A gift that creates disappointment is kind of a lousy gift.

Third, one of the primary predictors for problem gambling is an early “big” win.

For a high school graduate, a $50 win is likely to be perceived by them as a big win.

Again, the likelihood is low, but if they win, they are now actually statistically more likely to develop problem gambling habits which could cost them everything.

Fourth, there is the practice of establishing good money habits.

Lottery tickets can be a fairly harmless hobby for adults with discretionary income. High school grads are hardly financially secure. A student who thinks they are going to pay off student loans with a lottery ticket is only going to find themselves deeper in debt for a longer period of time.

Last, the gift is simply an unimaginative and impersonal one.

Handwritten cards with favorite memories, a note of inspiration for future endeavors and a little cash will be received with more appreciation and will be a gift everyone can feel good about.

If you are interested in learning more about problem gambling or would like a presentation, contact us at 515-576-7261, ext. 1410. Visit us on the web at www.cfrhelps.org.

Wayne Judkins is a prevention specialist at Community and Family Resources.