National Lottery raises minimum age from 16 to 18 in crackdown on child gambling

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The National Lottery will require players to be 18 or older from next year in a major crackdown on youth gambling.

The lottery's minimum age for players will rise from 16 to 18 from October 2021 as part of a "comprehensive" review into the scheme.

Meanwhile online sales to 16 and 17-year-olds will come to a halt in April.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the gambling industry had evolved "at breakneck speed" and the new rules are intended to help protect young and vulnerable people to place bets safely.

"Whilst millions gamble responsibly, the Gambling Act is an analogue law in a digital age," he said.

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"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."

"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."

Nigel Huddleston, minister for sport, tourism and heritage, added: "We're committed to protecting young people from gambling-related harm which is why we are raising the minimum age for the National Lottery.

"Patterns of play have changed since its inception, with a shift towards online games, and this change will help make sure the National Lottery, although already low-risk, is not a gateway to problem gambling."

A spokeswoman for Camelot, the National Lottery operator, said they had always said that they would "fully support" any decision to raise the minimum age to play.

She said: "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."

  • National Lottery

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