How old do you need to be to play The National Lottery? That is a question that is posed to Google many times each day, and while the answer today would be 16 years old, The National Lottery have revealed the that come October 2021, the answer to that question will be completely different! The minimum age to play any of their games whether that be instant wins or lotto, will be raised from 16 to 18 next year in ab id to protect young people from gambling related harm.
Anyone under the age of 18 purchasing National Lottery products will be breaking the law from October 2021, and retailers found to be selling to underage people will be heavily sanctioned. Playing online will also be restricted only the new rules will come into effect a lot sooner, with April 2021 earmarked for the new changes.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden launched a major review into gambling laws and said it was needed due to the unprecedented speed in which the gambling industry had taken off (especially online), describing it as evolving “at breakneck speed” ever since The National Lottery was founded back in 1994. He said the review is needed to “help those who enjoy placing a bet to do so safely.”
The Numbers Are Up – Literally!
It is estimated a staggering 70% of the UK play lottery games on a regular basis, which is some 45 million people all aiming to hit a jackpot, and while these same statistics show 55-64-year olds being the most likely to purchase a scratchcard (alongside playing bingo!), the number of teens playing is on the rise. Back in 2003, Callie Rogers became the youngest ever lottery winner after landing an almost instant sum of £1.8million but has since revealed her win brought her nothing but misery.
Blowing her fortune on breast implants, cocaine, and parties, the now 31-year-old admits she is far happier now that her fortune has gone and that she is loving life as a working mum. In 2002, then 19-year-old Michael Carrol won £9.7million – fast forward to 2020 and he is working 7-days a week delivering heating supplies to homes in Scotland at a rate of £10 an hour. Winning life-changing sums of money at such a young age is not always a good thing!
Mr Dowden had this to say on the new impending rules: “Whilst millions gamble responsibly, the Gambling Act is an analogue law in a digital age. From an era of having a flutter in a high street bookmaker, casino, racecourse or seaside pier, the industry has evolved at breakneck speed. This comprehensive review will ensure we are tackling problem gambling in all its forms to protect children and vulnerable people. It will also help those who enjoy placing a bet to do so safely.
He concluded with: “This builds upon our clear track record of introducing tough measures to protect people from the risk of gambling harm – banning the use of credit cards, launching tighter age verification checks and cutting the maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals.”
A spokeswoman for Camelot, the National Lottery operator said…
…they knew changes would come and that they have always said they would “fully support” all decisions related to a raise the minimum age to play. She added: “Now that a decision has been made to raise the age to 18 by October 2021, we’ll be doing everything we can to implement all of the changes that will be necessary as quickly as possible, while ensuring that we maintain the very high standards demanded of The National Lottery.
“We’ve already started this work in preparation and, subject to receiving the appropriate licence variations and waivers from the Gambling Commission, we’re aiming to complete all of the changes that are needed in our online channels by early April 2021 and, in our retail channel, over the course of the summer – well in advance of the change in law.”
Source: “National Lottery Minimum Age to Rise from 16 to 18 as Government Launches Gambling Review”. ITV News. December 8, 2020.