Giving a scratch off lottery ticket to someone under 18 is frowned upon, but could it also be illegal?

The New York State Responsible Play Partnership sent out their yearly reminder to parents, urging them not to give scratch off lottery tickets to kids. While it may seem like harmless fun, a child who plays lottery games could be at risk for problems down the road.

Arlene Gonzalez-Sanchez, the commissioner of the NY State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services says "People giving out gifts this holiday season need to recognize that lottery tickets are not appropriate gifts for children. These games can put young people at risk of developing problems with gambling, and we need to ensure that we take whatever steps possible to avoid those issues."

A public service announcement has even been recorded to remind parents not to give their kids scratchers this year.

While most people agree that a lottery ticket isn't the most appropriate gift for a child, is it actually illegal to give one to a kid for Christmas? According to Poughkeepsie attorney Jonna Spilbor, the answer is surprisingly "no."  According to Spilbor, it's illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to purchase a lottery ticket, but there is no law against giving one to a child. Furthermore, if a child happens to scratch off a winning ticket they can legally claim the prize for themselves. Spilbor goes on to explain that if the prize is over a certain dollar amount, the New York State Lotter can give the jackpot to a parent or guardian instead.

We want to know what you think about the idea of giving a child a scratch off lottery ticket. Is this something you'll be giving this year or do you believe the gift is inappropriate for kids?