The UK is looking to increase age limit for lotteries
The UK government is looking to regulate lotteries and scratch-offs even further, by introducing age limits for people wishing to buy tickets for them.
The prevailing mindset seems to be that gambling addiction is a widespread problem in the country, and the government is throwing a lot of money and resources behind such measures, despite studies showing that problem gambling is only a problem for 3-4% of the entire gaming market.
The government has been putting forth several initiatives to reduce access to gaming activities such as lotteries, and the latest proposal would see the age requirement for purchasing a lottery or scratch-off ticket increased to 18 years, from the existing 16 years. This is at odds with many other policies, the drinking age being one, for example. The current rules allow 16 and 17-year-olds to be able to drink beer, wine or cider with a meal, as long as they are accompanied by an adult. They cannot buy these drinks on their own, however.
At the same time, alcohol awareness organization Alcohol Change UK has pointed out that ‘alcohol misuse is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability among 15-49 year-olds in the UK, and the fifth-biggest risk factor across all ages.” Despite this, there are no calls for the drinking age to be changed.
These new regulations are being considered by lawmakers and will need to be passed by them before the changes can be implemented. It is entirely possible that 16-year-olds will soon be able to drink at a local pub, but will not be able to buy lottery tickets. Anti-gambling groups have accused the National Lottery of taking advantage of the existing laws to sell more tickets to vulnerable younger customers. According to them, £47 million was spent by 16 and 17-year olds on National Lottery games in 2017 and 2018. This is at odds with their argument that teens spend ‘hundreds of pounds’ per week on lotteries.
According to Statista, there are 3.66 million teens in the UK, and taking the annual spending figures into account, this would mean that the per-teen expense would be around £20 per year, without even going into age-wise figures and calculations.
Thus, it is odd that these laws are being changed in the absence of verifiable facts and numbers. This has been a growing trend over the last few years, and has gathered even more steam in 2020. It is therefore no surprise that many gambling operators are looking to move away from the United Kingdom, which will cause a lot of pain to the sector in the coming years.