The minimum age for playing the national lottery in the UK will be raised as part of the fight against problem gambling.
The increase in the age limit follows a government review last year, which concluded that the minimum age for participating in national lottery games should be the same as the legal age for other forms of play at 18.
The change applies to retail and online lottery sales, with new online accounts subject to age verification checks through Experian.
Figures show that more than 200,000 young people aged 16 and 17 regularly play Loto and buy scratch cards.
A House of Lords report last month found that many of the 55,000 children with gambling problems started out by playing the lottery.
Nigel Railton, director of lottery operator Camelot, said: “For 25 years now, 16 is probably the right time to look at it.”
The change is effective April 22.
A spokesperson for the lottery said: “As of April 22, 2021, players must be 18 years of age or older to play National Lottery games online, in-store and on the app.
“This is in line with the government’s decision to raise the legal minimum age for playing the national lottery, which we fully support.
“Encouraging healthy play is at the heart of everything we do.
“Remember, you can set limits on how much you deposit and spend each week, moderate your play limit at Instant Win Games, or even take a break.”
Last year Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden led a major review of gambling laws.
Mr Dowden said the industry has grown “at breakneck speed” and he hopes the review will allow those who like to place a bet to do so safely.
Nigel Huddleston, Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage, said the new restrictions would help ensure that the lottery is not a “gateway to problem gambling” – especially with the growth of gambling in line.
The planned changes hope to strike a balance between the enjoyment factor of the game for some and the “right regulatory framework and protections”, according to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS).
Additional measures that will be considered include limits on stakes and spending, marketing, online restrictions, and whether additional protections for young adults will be needed.
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This notice was published: 2021-04-16 07:00:00