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National Lottery age limit could rise from 16 to 18 in bid to cut gambling addiction

  • 16 Jul 2019, 13:39
  • Updated : 17 Jul 2019, 9:40

THE National Lottery age limit could rise from 16 to cut gambling addiction, the government has announced.

The minimum age to play National Lottery scratchcards and online win games could be increased to 18 to protect vulnerable young people, Culture Minister Mims Davies said yesterday.

But she sparked a fierce row after insisting the age limit for the traditional TV draw could still remain at 16.

The minimum legal age for gambling is typically 18 but the National Lottery is an exception.

Tories accused the Government of buckling under the threat of a legal challenge from Lottery operator Camelot.

One blasted: “It’s a fudge – simple as that.”

Ex-Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith stormed: “There is no need for consultation about the age limit. Frankly I think we should just get on with it. There’s enough evidence out there.”

Gambling is now more popular among children than skateboarding and campaigners believe an age limit of 16 entices young people into a habit of betting.

Britain’s youngest ever EuroMillions winner, Jane Park, has previously raised doubts about whether she should have been allowed to scoop £1million aged just 17 – claiming her life would have been ’10 times better’ had she not become a millionaire at such a young age.

She has since splashed out on cars, holidays and plastic surgery and become a household name after appearing on national TV – but claims the cash has made her miserable.

There are also concerns the current age limit makes it easier for even younger kids to buy Lotto tickets and scratchcards.

Gamble Aware, the addiction charity, says one in eight children aged between 11 and 15 years old are gambling regularly, and as many as 30,000 may be problem gamblers.

KIDS GAMBLING

About half of adults buy at least one National Lottery ticket or scratchcard each year, including around 65,000 16-year-olds.

The Gambling Commission says almost one in 20 children aged between the ages of 11 and 16 plays the National Lottery.

Ms Davies told MPs: “The age of 18 is widely recognised as an age one becomes an adult, gaining full citizenship rights and the responsibilities.

“At present, all lotteries can be played from 16 – one of the very few age limits for gambling under-18 products.

“So in addition to the option to raise the minimum age to 18 for all National Lottery games and retaining the current limit of 16, I’m also seeking views on a differentiated approach that would increase the minimum age of instant win games only – this includes scratchcards and online instant win games.”

Shadow culture secretary Tom Watson said in his and the Labour Party’s view there was “absolutely no need” for a consultation on the age limit.

To gamble you should be an adult

He said: “It’s our strong view, and I’m sure members across the House will agree, that we already have all the evidence we need.

“To gamble you should be an adult, so the minimum age for all gambling products should be 18, it’s as simple as that.”

Any move to raise the age limit on National Lottery sales before 2023 could leave the government open to a legal challenge from Camelot, which runs the National Lottery.

This is because it changes the nature of the original contact that was agreed.

A spokeswoman for National Lottery operator Camelot said: “We have no issue with a Government review of the age limit for buying National Lottery products and are happy to assist in any way we can to help inform the decision.”

But it said it was “extremely disappointed” with separate Government plans to allow society lotteries such as the Health Lottery to offer big prizes.

THE National Lottery age limit could rise from 16 to cut gambling addiction, the government has announced. Culture minister Mims Davies said the government was launching a consultation on increasing the age limit.

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 ]]>