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.
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.
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Responsible & Regulated
Don’t buy lottery tickets for minors
With the holidays fast approaching, Atlantic Lottery would like to remind adults that scratch tickets and other lottery products are not appropriate gifts for minors.
“Lottery tickets can be great last-minute gifts for the adults in your life, but not for anyone under the age of 19,” said Denise Pettis, Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility at Atlantic Lottery. “Retailers cannot control where tickets go once they are sold. This is why we are reminding people not to give these tickets to young people as gifts.”
Atlantic Lottery’s 3,000 retailers across Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador undergo responsible gambling training, and are subject to age of majority compliance. This season, as always, they will be asking for identification from anyone who looks 25 years of age or under. It’s a practice Atlantic Lottery has been highlighting through television spots and social media – and one they hope shoppers consider as well.
Why shouldn’t you buy tickets for minors?
“Research has shown that young people who play for money before the age of 19 are at higher risk of developing gambling problems later in life,” said Pettis, “Atlantic Lottery takes responsible gambling seriously. Our games are not for people under 19.”
How adults can help prevent underage gambling
- Don’t buy lottery tickets for minors. Get gift cards, concert tickets, or vouchers for an age appropriate activity, but don’t buy lottery products.
- Talk to your child: Encourage conversations about gambling. Atlantic Lottery’s website provides tips for adults about how to talk to children about gambling and to help them understand the risks associated with it.
- Check online use: alc.ca, verifies identity and age before customers are able to register for an account. Unregulated offshore internet gambling websites are not bound by Canadian laws to uphold such rigorous standards, making it easier for youth to access them. Young people today are the first generation to have easy access to such a wide variety of gambling opportunities.
Resources for support
If you have concerns with your gambling or someone else’s, support is just a phone call away.
New Brunswick | 1-800-461-1234
Newfoundland and Labrador | 1-888-899-HELP (4357)
Nova Scotia | 1-888-347-8888
Prince Edward Island | 1-855-255-4255