Shop Smart: Avoid Gambling Games for Children - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Shop Smart: Avoid Gambling Games for Children

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MORGANTOWN -

When shopping for a child this holiday season, you may want to consider not only what will be fun for him or her right now, but how certain games or toys may affect them in the future.

Patty Deutsch is the program director of the Problem Gamblers Help Network in West Virginia. She said that some games have gambling undertones and can gear a child towards the gambling lifestyle later in life.

"If children start very young, they only grow into this behavior. They get better at it if they like it, they do spend more time with it, and they think they can do better at it as they get older," said Deutsch. "And often times, what they do is they lose more as they get older because they play larger stakes.

Most of these toys are more subtle, such as a teddy bear with playing cards. But others are simply card games that teach the player how to "bluff without blinking an eye."

When you're shopping for Christmas gifts try to buy something with a "TCA," or Teacher's Choice Approved, seal. These are toys or games that are classroom approved.

Suzanne Gainer is a grandmother. She believes that kids are already too good at bluffing and shouldn't be exposed to things that will tell them addictive behaviors such as gambling are acceptable.

"They don't have to be taught it when they're small and taught that it's fun," said Gainer. "I think if it came from grandmother, something in there might say 'Gee, that's okay,' and I don't think that is."

"What we look at during the holidays is not encouraging children to start this behavior," said Deutsch. "Because if they start it at a young age, it's something that they just build upon and it becomes more of their repertoire and who they are."

For older kids, like teenagers, Deutsch said try to avoid stocking stuffers like scratch-off or lottery tickets. She also said that signs of children gambling are lying and always seeming to lose their money.

If you want to know more about these types of toys or games, or you need help with a gambling addiction, call The Problem Gamblers Network of West Virginia hotline at 1-800-GAMBLER.