MPs are calling for the minimum age for National Lottery products to be raised to 18 to avoid a “betting addiction epidemic”.
UK.- The Gambling Related Harm All-Party Parliamentary Group has written to the UK Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, to call for the minimum age for National Lottery products to be raised to 18.
The group cites a Gambling Commission investigation that found that in 2017 – 2018, 16 and 17 year olds spent £47million on National Lottery games; two-thirds of it on scratch cards and instant win online games.
The MPs said this suggested the National Lottery could lead to a gambling epidemic.
The minimum age for gambling in the UK is 18, but National Lottery products, run by Camelot, are open to players from the age of 16.
Some products, such as scratch cards themed on television programmes popular with teenagers have been accused of intentionally targeting young players.
Labour MP Carolyn Harris, Chair of the Gambling Related Harm All-Party Parliamentary Group said: “The lottery is clearly competing with mainstream gambling companies, but they have the advantage of being able to target children aged 16 and 17 — some of whom can spend up to £350 per week on games. We must ensure that this loophole is closed quickly.”
The Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, told the Sunday Times: “It’s surprising, given the large, worrying and well-established numbers of children who problem gamble, that any gaming platform should have a lower age limit than any other.”
Camelot said it agreed with the MPs that age restrictions should be reviewed before the next licence period for the National Lottery and that it would not contest any decision from the government to raise the minimum age to 18.
It said: “It is appropriate to review the minimum age for playing National Lottery games for the next licence period as it has been more than 25 years since these restrictions were set.”