The HFM Prevention Council and other NYS Problem Gambling Prevention Providers collaborated with The New York Council on Problem Gambling to conduct an Identification Assessment Project in 15 counties throughout NYS.
Statewide, approximately 300 identification assessments were completed on over the counter and instant ticket vending machine sales. The assessments were completed by observing the sale of lottery products or by attempting to purchase those products.
All actual and observed participants were of legal age to purchase Lottery products, therefore, there were no illegal sales transactions as part of this project. Sales clerks requested identification approximately 43% of the time during over the counter assessments. Only 5% of participants were asked for identification during the instant ticket vending machine assessments.
As a result of this project, The New York Council on Problem Gambling is making recommendations to reduce the availability of NY Lottery products to youth. The five point plan below outlines the steps needed to reduce access to youth:
1. Develop a clear policy defining consequences for retailers whose clerks are found selling to minors.
2. Mandate a training program for those who are found selling NY Lottery products to minors - similar to the TIPS program utilized following underage alcohol compliance checks.
3. Reduce sales to minors by utilizing technology such as age identification card readers on Lottery machines.
4. Include an annual training program for all NY Lottery retailers and their clerks.
5. Require retailers to comply with posting visible purchase age requirement signage.
Effective prevention strategies, such as the ones listed above, have been utilized and are proven successful in reducing youth access to alcohol and tobacco products. Therefore, with support and direction from The New York Council on Problem Gambling, NYS Problem Gambling Prevention Providers volunteered their time to informally assess whether or not Lottery retailers and clerks were asking for Identification at the time of NY Lottery product sales.
The results of these assessments indicate a need for further education of NY Lottery retailers and their sales clerks, as well as clear, consistent enforcement of underage sales laws and regulations.
New York Council on Problem Gambling Executive Director, Jim Maney comments, "We look forward to working with the NY Lottery, the NYS Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services, and NYS Problem Gambling Prevention Providers to address and reduce youth access to Lottery products in the near future."