Children As young As Sixteen Spending Excessively On National Lottery Games

A loophole in Gambling legislation has seen an increase in children as young as 16 gamble excessively online or using scratch cards on a weekly basis.

‘Epidemic of Gambling’

Campaigners fear ‘an epidemic of gambling’ could happen in the future if these loopholes are not addressed. Gambling games offered by the National Lottery including scratch cards and online instant win games contribute to two thirds of the amount spent by teenagers.As the law stands in the UK, the minimum age for adult gambling is 18, stakes offered on the National Lottery are relatively low and not deemed as addictive, plus all the money raised for good causes etc. The problem being, after the introduction of scratch cards and instant win games, due to an existing loophole, children over sixteen can access the National Lottery games, and a study in 2018 by the UKGC found children between the ages of 11 to 16 were deemed as gambling addicts.

Call For 18+ Age Limit

Regulators are now calling for an age limit on the minimum age for playing online National Lottery games and scratch cards of 18yrs or above. As the legislation stands, underage individuals are able to access these games and potentially spend excessive amounts of money and moreover, become addicted to gambling.There’s been controversy over the years around the National Lottery after its launch 26 years ago when John Major was Prime Minister of the UK. Previous Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was not keen on the Lottery and blocked it as she feared it would encourage gambling. Even religious groups showed concern over the launch of the National Lottery with similar fears.Carolyn Harris, leader of the all-party parliamentary group on gambling related harm insist on the new age limit to be 18+ and said the age limit on such games must be raised to prevent underage people gaining access due to the loophole.

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