UK Government Consults on Raising Minimum Lottery Age to 18

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The UK government has announced a consultation on the minimum age for play the official UK national lottery, asking whether it should be raised from age 16 to 18. This would bring it in line with other forms of gambling, including lotto betting.

Change is on the way for retail and online lottery in the UK

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The changes would bring the UK national lottery into line with other forms of gambling, including lotto betting.

 

The minimum age for the national lottery has been 16 since the original UK Lotto game was launched back in 1994, since when more than £10 billion has been paid out in lotto jackpots and other prizes.

UK Culture Minister Mim Davies announced a consultation on the proposed change, which is due to the concern that players are too young for any form of gambling at age 16.

The opposition Labour Party favours a blanket minimum age of 18 for all forms of gambling, including the national lottery, whereas the government is thought to favour a minimum age of 18 for scratchards and instant games, while keeping the traditional lottery draw games – UK Lotto, EuroMillions and Thunderball – at the current level.

Traditional 6/49-style lottery games could stay at age 16

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The changes could only apply to scratchcard games, leaving 16-year-old free to play UK Lotto and other weekly draws.

 

Ms Davies pointed out that traditional lotteries, both retail and online, have been shown to be less harmful than any other form of gambling, whereas the risk of addiction is “slightly higher for instant win games than it is for draw-based games such as Lotto”.

She also announced that the maximum prize payout for local lottery licenses – so-called ‘society lotteries’ – would be increased from £400,000 to £500,000.

Changes would bring the national lottery into line with lotto betting

Labour’s Shadow Culture Secretary Tom Watson, claimed there was no need for any consultation on the age limit, saying: “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.”

The official national lottery operator Camelot, which operates both retail and online lotto across the UK, said it had ‘no issue’ with the proposed changes.

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