16 and 17-year-olds fac­ing ban on buy­ing Lotto tick­ets

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By Daniel Martin Pol­icy Ed­i­tor

UN­DER-18s face a ban on play­ing the Na­tional Lot­tery as min­is­ters launch a new campaign against prob­lem gam­bling.

Cul­ture min­is­ter Tracey Crouch is to review the cur­rent age limit of 16 for en­ter­ing lot­tery draws and buy­ing scratch­cards.

The news fol­lows this week’s an­nounce­ment that the max­i­mum stake for fixed-odds bet­ting ter­mi­nals is to be slashed from £100 to £2. Lot­tery op­er­a­tor Camelot sup­ports a min­i­mu­mage review – but any change is at least five years away be­cause its li­cence does not come up for re­newal until 2023.

Fears have been voiced ever since the Lot­tery be­gan 20 years ago that it can act as a gam­bling ‘gate­way’ for young peo­ple.

Teenagers can­not bet on horses or en­ter casi­nos until they are 18, but can play the Na­tional Lot­tery and buy scratch­cards at 16.

Bri­tain’s youngest Eu­roMil­lions win­ner, Jane Park, be­lieves she should not have been al­lowed to win £1mil­lion aged just 17, say­ing her life would have ‘ten times bet­ter’ if she had not.

Cam­paign­ers are par­tic­u­larly wor­ried about a the rise in pop­u­lar­ity of scratch­cards among chil­dren and Camelot has been crit­i­cised for mak­ing them ap­peal­ing to a younger au­di­ence with board-game themes such as Mouse Trap and Mo­nop­oly. A 2011 sur­vey found that 7 per cent of chil­dren aged 11-15 had spent their own money on a scratch­card in the pre­vi­ous week.

Fol­low­ing this week’s an­nounce­ment of a dras­tic stake reduction on bet­ting shop gam­bling ma­chines, Miss Crouch said: ‘We will also be con­sid­er­ing the is­sue of 16-year-olds play­ing Na­tional Lot­tery prod­ucts as part of the next li­cence com­pe­ti­tion.

‘We will aim to gather ev­i­dence on this is­sue in or­der to con­sider it fully in time.

‘I also in­tend the change in the law to com­mu­ni­cate our de­ter­mina- tion to achieve, in part­ner­ship with the in­dus­try, a cul­ture of re­spon­si­ble gam­bling.

She said in the fore­word to a re­port from the Depart­ment of Cul­ture, Me­dia and Sport: ‘I want to be very clear that a stake reduction on B2 gam­ing ma­chines [fixe­dodds ter­mi­nals] should not be a sig­nal to the wider in­dus­try to take its foot off the pedal on this is­sue.

‘We want to use this op­por­tu­nity to see the in­dus­try re­dou­ble its efforts to pro­mote re­spon­si­ble gam­bling.’

Jane Park, who won her Eu­roMil­lions jack­pot in 2013, says she regrets go­ing pub­lic with her suc­cess and would never take part in a lot­tery draw again.

One of her first pur­chases was a breast aug­men­ta­tion and she also trav­elled to Turkey for a £5,000 ‘Brazil­ian bum lift’ that ended up with her be­ing rushed to hos­pi­tal with sus­pected sep­sis.

She says that at one point she con­sid­ered tak­ing le­gal ac­tion against Camelot over the win, claim­ing her life would have been ‘ten times bet­ter’ had she not be­come a mil­lion­aire at such a young age.

Last night a spokesman for the Campaign for Fairer Gam­bling said: ‘We wel­come the gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to con­sider in­creas­ing the age for play­ing the na­tional lot­tery to 18, as younger peo­ple are more sus­cep­ti­ble to de­vel­op­ing prob­lems with gam­bling.’

A Camelot spokesman said the firm ‘al­ways sought to raise as much money as pos­si­ble for good causes in a so­cially-re­spon­si­ble way.

‘We there­fore think that a review of the age limit for buy­ing Na­tional Lot­tery prod­ucts, as part of the next li­cence com­pe­ti­tion process, is ap­pro­pri­ate and we look for­ward to ac­tively par­tic­i­pat­ing.’

‘Younger peo­ple are more sus­cep­ti­ble’

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