Ministers Scrap Plans To Ban Lottery Ticket Sales to Under 18 Year Olds

The debate as to whether playing the lottery is akin to gambling has always been around. The saying that playing the lottery is the poor man’s version of gambling has been around for a long time and has raised the contentious debate. The UK government has made a strong effort in the last few years to politicize the issue of gambling and has actively cracked down on money makers like fixed odds betting terminals.

Next in the line of fire has been the lottery and scratchards which are easily available to the public at just about every corner kiosk. Earlier this year the government signaled that it aims to prevent under 18 year olds from playing the twice weekly lottery where the public can participate for only £2. The thinking was much of the same logic as before in that it was aimed at protecting the public and in particular those vulnerable.

Minister for Sports and Civil Society, Mimi Davies spearheaded the effort at the time. However Davies has now notified the treasury that her new position is that the age limit of 16 will still apply to the lottery but that the minimum age of 18 should be put into play regarding instant win games like scratchcards.

She claimed in a letter to Chancellor Philip Hammond that after reviewing the evidence this stance was a “ proportionate and precautionary” approach which would protect under 18’s from potential future harm.  While these change are only set to come into force at the next National Lottery licence in 2023, the forecasts are that revenues will fall by £5.4 million from the age being raises with the treasury also losing.

Scratchcards are a big revenue generator for the lottery with £865 million raised for the public purse in the year to march 31,2019.

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