Just like all the ways we play in Colorado, games of chance are about having fun. We take a small risk in the hopes we’ll enjoy a big reward. As Coloradans we know any activity we choose to undertake can expose us to a certain amount of risk. So we learn to set limits, boundaries, and rules for ourselves to make sure we keep it fun. The same goes for playing the Lottery. Use the tools here to help you play responsibly.
Test your knowledge on some common misconceptions about gambling.
Should I play the Lottery today?
Know Our Commitment
We know that for some people, gambling can become detrimental and unhealthy, so we’re committed to promoting responsible gaming. The Colorado Lottery and its employees pledge to make responsible gaming practices an integral part of how we conduct our business. To demonstrate this commitment, the Colorado Lottery joined the World Lottery Association (WLA) in November 2018. The WLA and their Responsible Gaming Framework are internationally recognized as the industry standard for responsible gaming best practices. The Framework identifies 10 program elements that encompass the different aspects of a lottery’s organization, and where specific responsible gaming practices must be put into place. These program areas include: employee and retailer training, marketing and advertising, treatment referral, and more. Also included in the Framework are four levels of achievement that reflect an individual lottery’s progress in implementing responsible gaming practices into their business decisions and day-to-day operations. The Colorado Lottery was extremely proud to have been awarded Level 3 Responsible Gaming Certification from the WLA in September 2020, and is currently working toward Level 4 certification.
Working with Stakeholders: The Problem Gambling Coalition of Colorado (PGCC) brings together a diverse group of stakeholders with the common mission to increase awareness, advocate treatment, and promote research and education on problem gambling in Colorado. The Lottery played an instrumental role in forming this coalition in 2002, and has remained a key partner ever since. Not only is the Lottery one of the group’s largest financial supporters, we also maintain a seat on the PGCC Board, which meets monthly to discuss current issues around problem gambling and new ways to further the Coalition’s mission. One of PGCC’s most critical functions is funding Colorado’s 24-hour problem gambling helpline. Callers can speak toll-free to live, trained counselors, who are able to help those struggling with gambling addiction get connected to the treatement they need.
Lottery Advertising and Marketing: The Lottery takes particular care to ensure the messaging in our marketing and advertising promotes responsible play. To uphold this commitment, we created the Marketing Code of Conduct that all relevant Lottery employees and vendors must follow. The Code of Conduct highlights five ethical values that need to taken into consideration for all Lottery advertising: honesty, responsibility, fairness, respect, and transparency. Each new advertising campaign must complete a compliance checklist that confirms these principles are being adhered to. Our advertising is never placed in media outlets that are specifically oriented towards minors and we never feature anyone who is or appears to be below the legal age to participate in Lottery games. Specific “Play Responsibly” campaigns are run throughout the year to encourage consumers to learn more about responsible play and available resources. All Lottery products also include a “Play Responsibly” message, along with the 24-hour problem gambling helpline number.
Supporting Lottery Retailers: Lottery retailers have the most direct contact with our players and play a crucial role in helping us achieve our responsible gaming goals. Every retail location has our “Play Smart” brochure available with responsible gaming tips and treatment resources. All new Lottery retailers receive mandatory training on recognizing the signs of problem gambling, and tactics on how to address the issue. Our sales representatives also conduct annual refresher trainings throughout the year to keep retailers current with the latest techniques. We provide our retail distribution network with the educational tools and resources that help them protect their customers.
Know How to Play Smart
As Coloradans we love to play, but it’s important to know when it is time to stop. In order to keep our favorite games fun, we learn to set limits.
Use these tips to set your limits for Lottery play:
- Never chase your losses.
- Set a dollar limit and stick to it.
- Balance gambling with other fun activities.
- Don’t play when you are upset or depressed.
- Only gamble with money budgeted for entertainment, never with money needed for expenses.
- Play for fun and entertainment, not for money.
- Take a break from playing every now and again.
- Treat winning as a bonus.
- Don't gamble on credit, borrow to play, or gamble illegally.
- Know how the games work and your odds of winning.
- If you’re unsure whether you’re overstepping your limits, ask for help.
Know When There’s a Problem
The American Psychiatric Association defines pathological gambling as “an impulse control disorder that is a chronic and progressive mental illness.” The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders offers some clues to help ascertain whether or not a person may have a problem with gambling. If a person has experienced at least five of the following criteria, they should consider seeking professional mental health services.
- Preoccupation: When a person has consistent or frequent thoughts about the act of gambling.
- Tolerance: Similar to drug tolerance, the person requires larger or more frequent wagers to experience a “rush.”
- Withdrawal: When a person makes attempts to cease or reduce gambling that typically results in restlessness or irritability.
- Escape: When only gambling improves a person’s mood, and helps him/her escape from their problems.
- Chasing: When a person tries to “chase” winnings in order to pay off gambling losses. Also known as the sunk cost fallacy.
- Lying: When a person hides the extent of their gambling by lying to family, friends and therapists.
- Stealing: When a person steals in order to feed the gambling addiction.
- Loss of Control: When a person is unable to control, reduce or stop gambling.
- Illegal Acts: When a person engages in activities such as theft, embezzlement, fraud, forgery or writing bad checks in order to get gambling money or to recover from gaming losses.
- Risking Relationships: When a person disregards relationships with significant others, employment, and other associations in favor of gambling.
- Bailout: When a person looks to others for financial assistance to bail them out of their gaming losses.
Lottery Games Aren't Child's Play
While the Colorado Lottery is all about fun and games, it's important to know who can not and should not play. In Colorado, you must be at least 18 years old to purchase Lottery products. Our retailers may ask for ID, and ticket vending machines may make you verify your age before purchasing.
Studies have shown that exposure to gambling at a young age leads to higher rates of problem gambling later in life. And as the popularity of internet gaming continues to increase, gambling is more appealing and readily accessible to young people than ever before.
At the Colorado Lottery, we are doing our part to break the problem gambling cycle. We do our best to make sure our products do not feature images or characters that might appeal to kids, and we never advertise on channels primarily aimed at younger demographics. We also push the "Must be 18 to play" message wherever we can.
Even though Scratch tickets make a great birthday present or stocking stuffer, they should NEVER be given to anyone who is underage. By working together, we can help protect our most vulnerable and impressionable population and ensure that all forms of gambling, even Lottery games, are strictly left to the grown ups.
Help is Available. Don't Wait.
If you or a loved one are struggling with a gambling addiction, we encourage you to seek help by contacting one of the organizations below.
Problem Gambling Coalition of Colorado
PGCC’s mission is to increase awareness, advocate treatment and promote research and education on problem gambling in Colorado.
24/7 confidential Problem Gambling Helpline: 1-800-522-4700 (call or text) (English and Spanish)
Learn about the voluntary self-exclusion program from Colorado casinos.
You can find information on how the games work, learn about different gambling myths, explore tips on how to keep the game fun, and much more, at:
A supportive online community helping people with gambling issues share their experiences and ideas. Joining is free and completely anonymous. Read insperiational stories about recovery and chat live with others at:
Colorado Gamblers Anonymous
Gamblers Anonymous is a support group for those struggling with a gambling problem and a desire to stop, with the help of their 12-Step Program. Find local in-person or online meetings across Colorado:
GA Hotline: 1-855-2-CALLGA (1-855-222-5542)
Gam-Anon is a support group for friends and family members impacted by compulsive gamblers.
National Council on Problem Gambling
NCPG is the national advocate for programs and services to assist people, families and communities affected by problem gambling.
DA offers hope for people whose use of unsecured debt causes problems and suffering in their lives and the lives of others.