You wouldn't give a 16-year-old a fifth of bourbon or a carton of cigarettes for Christmas, so why would you give one a lottery ticket?

Apparently, people do, prompting state officials to urge them not to.

I suppose some folks think a scratch ticket is a harmless enough gift, but it is gambling and introducing kids to gambling at an early age can be a recipe for disaster.

Michael Sweeney, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Lottery, along with responsible gaming advocates, are urging people to be careful in selecting a gift for young people. Marlene Warner, head of the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling, told a press gathering on Wednesday that gambling-related gifts "are just not appropriate for kids." Warner added, "They are, simply put, adult entertainment."

Lottery tickets are fun and can be exciting to teenagers, but Warner is correct. Kids grow up fast. They will be adults soon enough and can make their own decisions about whether gambling is right for them.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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