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National Lottery scratchcard minimum age could be increased to 18

Government also confirms move to increase society lotteries’ maximum draw prize

  • Plans to increase minimum age to play National Lottery scratchcards and instant win games
  • Government confirms move to increase society lotteries’ maximum draw prize from £400,000 to £500,000

The minimum age to play National Lottery scratchcards and online instant win games could be increased to 18 to protect vulnerable young people, Minister for Sport and Civil Society Mims Davies announced today.

The current age limit for all National Lottery games is 16, but the government will now consult on whether it should be raised to 18 for some or all National Lottery games and products.

The plans are to ensure that young people are rightly protected from the potential risks of gambling related harm, although these remain very low on all National Lottery games.

The Government also announces it will raise the society lotteries’ annual sales limit to £50 million, increasing the money they can raise for good causes, and the maximum per draw prize to £500,000.

The new limits, which have not been increased for a decade, come after a detailed consultation and will support society lotteries to grow, removing the need for lotteries to slow down their fundraising, and allow them to get rid of the costly bureaucracy designed to stop them breaching the current limits.

Minister for Sport and Civil Society Mims Davies said:

I am immensely proud of the exceptional role that the National Lottery has played in Britain over the past 25 years. We want to protect its special place and these changes strike the right balance to ensure that both the National Lottery and society lotteries can thrive.

The National Lottery raises vast sums for good causes, and society lotteries play a vital role in supporting local charities and grassroots organisations. These measures will ensure we create the best landscape so people across our communities can continue to benefit.

But we also need to make sure that the National Lottery is fair and safe. That is why we are looking to raise the minimum age for instant win games so children and young people are protected. We are open to all feedback on changes to this and all of the various lottery products.

It is important that society lotteries demonstrate the highest levels of transparency, and in addition to the above changes, the Gambling Commission plan to consult on measures to tighten the licensing framework for society lotteries, looking in particular at the information provided to players on how the proceeds of a lottery are used (including publishing breakdowns of where all money is spent), and the good causes that benefit.

Since the first National Lottery draw in 1994, over £40 billion has been raised for good causes. Society lotteries – such as those run by charities, the Health Lottery and People’s Postcode Lottery – raise around £300 million a year for good causes.

The individual draw limit for large society lotteries was last raised in 2009. The government’s decision to consult followed the sector’s calls for limits to be increased as they said the previous limits acted as a barrier to raising funds for good causes.

The current licence to run the National Lottery is due to expire in 2023 and the Gambling Commission is designing a tendering process for the next licence. The bidding process for the fourth National Lottery licence competition will formally launch in 2020 and the Government intends to ensure there is a clear position on the minimum age ahead of this.

Notes to editors

The society lotteries reform consultation ran from June – September 2018. The aim of the consultation was to consider options for making changes to the society lotteries framework to enable both the National Lottery and society lotteries to thrive, and consequently to increase the returns that the sector as a whole generates for good causes.

DCMS received over 1,600 responses to the consultation from a wide range of sectors, including members of the public, society lotteries, beneficiaries of society lottery funding, local authorities, the National Lottery sector (Camelot and distributors), beneficiaries of National Lottery funding, public bodies, retailers, and other organisations.

The age of 18 is widely recognised as the age at which one becomes an adult, gaining full citizenship rights and responsibilities. At present, the default minimum age limit for all types of lottery games is 16; the lotteries sector is currently one of several exceptions to the minimum age of 18 for accessing the majority of commercial gambling products.

The consultation on the minimum age for playing National Lottery games will last 12 weeks from 16 July 2019 until 08 October 2019.

Government also confirms move to increase society lotteries’ maximum draw prize

Minimum age to buy National Lottery tickets and scratchcards will be raised in 2021

16-year-olds are allowed to play the National Lottery and buy Lottery scratchcards despite being banned from gambling until they are 18

  • 13:03, 8 DEC 2020

The minimum age to buy National Lottery tickets and scratchcards will be raised next year.

From October 2021, new age restrictions will come into effect which raise the minimum age to play the National Lottery from 16 to 18. Online sales to 16 and 17-year-olds will be stopped in April 2021, according to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

The announcement is part of a major review into gamblimg laws which aims to protect children and vulnerable people.

The minimum age to gamble in the UK is 18, but 16 and 17-year-olds are currently allowed to enter the National Lottery, buy National Lottery Scratchcards and claim prizes.

A spokeswoman for Camelot, the National Lottery operator, said they had always said that they would “fully support” any decision to raise the minimum age to play.

She added: “Now that a decision has been made to raise the age to 18 by October 2021, we’ll be doing everything we can to implement all of the changes that will be necessary as quickly as possible, while ensuring that we maintain the very high standards demanded of The National Lottery.

“We’ve already started this work in preparation and, subject to receiving the appropriate licence variations and waivers from the Gambling Commission, we’re aiming to complete all of the changes that are needed in our online channels by early April 2021 and, in our retail channel, over the course of the summer – well in advance of the change in law.”

Michael Dugher, chief executive of the Betting and Gaming Council, said they “strongly welcome” the review launch and the Lottery minimum age rise, saying it must be “one rule for all”.

Nigel Huddleston, minister for sport, tourism and heritage, said raising the Lottery age to 18 will help ensure that the National Lottery is not a “gateway to problem gambling.”

Some MPs have called for the minimum age to be raised immediately instead of waiting until October 2021.

Carolyn Harris, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Related Harm, said: “I welcome the increase in the minimum age of play for the lottery to 18 but this change should happen immediately not in October 2021. I hope this delay is not reflective of the Government’s wider attitude to national gambling reform.”

Tory MP Richard Holden, who has been campaigning on the issue, said: “What’s great to see is the Government moving quickly to deal with under-18 lottery gambling that I’ve been campaigning on and recognising the damage that gambling can do to young people.”

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowdon said the gambling industry had evolved “at breakneck speed” and that the review aims to “help those who enjoy placing a bet to do so safely”.

Protective measures such as stake and spend limits, advertising and promotional offers and whether extra protections for young adults are needed will all be looked at, DCMS said.

The review will also consider online restrictions, marketing and the powers of the Gambling Commission as part of a call for evidence, to examine how the industry has changed in the past 15 years.

The department said the Government recognises the need to balance people’s enjoyment from gambling with the “right regulatory framework and protections”.

The review will consider evidence on the action customers can take where they feel operators have breached social responsibility requirements, including interventions, as well as how to ensure children and young people are kept safe from gambling-related harm.

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Mr Dowden, said: “Whilst millions gamble responsibly, the Gambling Act is an analogue law in a digital age.

“From an era of having a flutter in a high street bookmaker, casino, racecourse or seaside pier, the industry has evolved at breakneck speed.

“This comprehensive review will ensure we are tackling problem gambling in all its forms to protect children and vulnerable people. It will also help those who enjoy placing a bet to do so safely.

“This builds upon our clear track record of introducing tough measures to protect people from the risk of gambling harm – banning the use of credit cards, launching tighter age verification checks and cutting the maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals.”

16-year-olds are allowed to play the National Lottery and buy Lottery scratchcards despite being banned from gambling until they are 18 ]]>