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Gaming Control Board Executive Director Henry Williams encourages Michigan citizens to gift responsibly this holiday season
December 20, 2023
DETROIT, Dec. 20, 2023 — With the holiday season in full swing and Michiganders out shopping for the perfect gift for their loved ones, Michigan Gaming Control Board Executive Director Henry Williams encourages Michigan citizens to exercise responsible gift-giving practices that prioritize the well-being and development of our youth — not just during the holiday season but as a year-round practice, including for birthdays and special occasions.
Certain gifts can introduce young minds to the concept of gambling at an early age. As a regulatory agency, the MGCB strives to ensure the conduct of fair and honest gaming to protect the interests of the citizens of the state of Michigan, and as such, the agency works to help promote the message that responsible gift giving can lead to the development of responsible and well-rounded individuals.
“While the tradition of gift giving brings joy and excitement to both children and adults, it is essential to consider the impact our gifts can have on recipients,” MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams said. “It is in this spirit of the season that I want to advocate for responsible choices when selecting presents for our younger generation.”
According to the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), youth gambling is a growing public health concern, with studies showing that 10 to 14% of adolescents are at-risk for developing a problem with gambling. To help raise public awareness of this issue, each year the NCPG and the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors at McGill University presents the “Gift Responsibly” campaign, where participants — through partnerships with lotteries and other organizations — work to educate communities about the dangers of gifting gambling-themed presents to children.
“Choosing meaningful gifts to share with a child can foster an environment that encourages positive experiences for young people instead of promoting potentially harmful activities like gambling,” Williams added. “Together, we can ensure a holiday season where the health of our youth is constantly prioritized.”
Alternative gifts that can nurture children’s curiosity, imagination, and personal growth that Michiganders may consider purchasing include educational toys and books, experiences and adventures, artistic pursuits, and donation contributions to charitable causes or organizations the child may be interested in supporting.
Also of note, Executive Director Williams recently recorded Episode 12 of the MGCB’s Double Down Michigan podcast during which the topic of gifting responsibly not only during this holiday season, but also during celebratory events throughout the year, was discussed. The public is invited to listen on Buzzsprout or on another podcast app of their choice including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, iHeart Radio, and more.
Gambling in any form is for entertainment purposes only. If someone has a gambling problem, please call the state's 24-hour, toll-free helpline at 1-800-270-7117 or the MGCB's responsible gaming section at 1-888-223-3044. Visit the Responsible Gaming page of the MGCB website for information on self-exclusion programs including the Disassociated Persons List and the Internet Gaming and Sports Betting Responsible Gaming Database, and DontRegretTheBet.org for additional tools to game responsibly.
The Michigan Gaming Control Board shall ensure the conduct of fair and honest gaming to protect the interests of the citizens of the state of Michigan. Learn more at Michigan.gov/MGCB.