The adoption of public policy aimed at limiting minors' access to lottery products is an important component of initiatives for the prevention of problem gambling in youth.
In spite of these legal and administrative policies, the results of our research show a high rate of purchase of lottery tickets by minors and, therefore, relatively easy access to this type of product. This study examined the relationship between the type of point of purchase, the age and gender of the purchaser and vendor, and respect of the laws limiting access to minors.
Just under 60% of retailers respect the policies limiting access to minors.
For the purposes of the study, 13 youth between the ages of 15 and 17 and 4 young adults between the ages of 18 and 19 attempted to purchase a lottery ticket, a beer or both products simultaneously in 666 points of purchase in the Greater Montreal Area. The results show that just under 60% of retailers respect the policies limiting access to minors. The vendor's gender appears to play a role in the frequency of requests for age ID and the frequency of sales refusal. In fact, female vendors were significantly more likely to ask purchasers to provide proof-of-age and were more likely to refuse the sale than male vendors. In addition, product access appears to be easier in so-called "independent" points of purchase than in chain/franchise outlets. Finally, the purchasers had easier access to beer than to lottery products.
These results are interpreted in terms of their relevance to the development of strategies for limiting minors' access to lottery products and alcohol.
Isabelle Martin, McGill University
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Deposit of the research report: May 2009