UK Government mulls raising minimum scratchcard and digital games age

17 July 2019

The UK Government is to launch a new consultation over proposals to increase the minimum age consumers must be to purchase a National Lottery scratchcard and play online instant win games from 16 to 18.

Minister for Sport and Civil Society, Mims Davies, said that the idea behind the move is to help protect young people from the potential risks of gambling-related harm.

The level of problem gambling remains low across all National Lottery games, but Davies said the changes are required if vulnerable young people are to be better protected against such threats.

“The National Lottery raises vast sums for good causes, and society lotteries play a vital role in supporting local charities and grassroots organisations,” Davis said. “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.”

The Government is also set to raise the society lotteries’ annual sales limit to £50m (€55.3m/$62.0m), thus increasing the money they can raise for good causes, and increasing the maximum per draw prize to £500,000. Such limits have not been changed for a decade.

The move comes in response to a detailed consultation on social lotteries, with the idea of supporting society lotteries to grow, removing the need for lotteries to slow down fundraising, and allow them to remove bureaucracy designed to stop them breaching the current limits.

The social lotteries consultation ran from June until September 2018, with the Department for Culture, Media and Report receiving over 1,600 responses from various sectors, including the public, society lotteries, beneficiaries of society lottery funding, local authorities, the National Lottery sector, beneficiaries of National Lottery funding, public bodies and retailers.

Last month, current UK National Lottery operator Camelot UK Lotteries reported a record £1.83bn in digital sales for the Lottery in the 12 months to March 31, 2019. Overall ticket sales were also up to £7.21bn for the year.

Image: pittaya