National Lottery scratchcard minimum age could be increased to 18

Mims Davies MP

  • 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

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.

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