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Will minors no longer be allowed to buy scratch tickets in Great Britain?

Published by

July 18, 2019 7:43 pm

Will minors no longer be allowed to buy scratch tickets in Great Britain?

The UK is currently considering raising the minimum age for scratch tickets and other lotteries from 16 to 18. In this way, the government wants to strengthen the protection of minors in gambling.

Currently, 16-year-olds can buy tickets in shops or online and participate in similar games of chance where an instant prize in the form of money attracts. Mims Davies, the state secretary responsible for digital affairs, culture, the media and sport, who is also responsible for gambling, will be involved in this regulation.

Mims Davies complains that the particularly vulnerable minors are too exposed to the dangers of gambling due to the low age limit. That’s why their ministry announced yesterday that it will investigate the possibility of raising the minimum age for scratch tickets and other lotteries.

One starting point for the new regulation would be the imminent re-allocation of the lottery licence in Great Britain. The existing licence was awarded to Camelot for 10 years in 2009. Three possible scenarios are currently being discussed in this context:

-Maintaining the minimum age for all lottery games
-Raise the minimum age for scratch cards and other instant win games to 18 years.
-raise the minimum age for all lottery games to 18 years

The Ministry intends to evaluate the three options by 8 October, taking into account the opinions of other experts.

Is the split solution the favourite?

State Secretary Mims Davies does not hide the fact that she favours the second option. She told media representatives at the beginning of the week:

My opinion is based on the evidence so far that a shared solution might be the best approach. This takes into account that the damage associated with the National Lottery game is the lowest of all forms of gambling.

At the same time, she pointed out the higher risk of scratch tickets:

But we do know that the risk of damage is slightly higher for instant games than it is for draw-based games like lottery.

The opinion of Mims Davies has also received encouragement from the opposition. Labour MEP Carolyn Harris told Sky News that scratch tickets “normalised” gambling and were, therefore, a problem for many players.

A ban has been debated for some time now

The discussion about a ban on scratch cards for minors is not new in the UK. For some time now, gambling protection organisations and politicians from various parties have been calling for the minimum age for the popular game of chance to be raised.

This step would hit the organisers of the National Lottery hard. For example, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has found in studies that nearly 15% of all 11 to 16-year-olds buy scratch tickets at least once a week.

This would make tickets the most popular form of gambling for this target group, alongside arcades, in which they use real money. A further UKGC study shows that a large number of minors regularly gamble for money in the UK. According to the study, around 450,000 young people gamble for money several times a month. More than 10% of them already have problematic gambling behaviour.

The example of Callie Rogers shows that a high profit is not only advantageous for adolescents. She was the youngest Lotto Jackpot winner in 2003, when she was 16 years old, and suffered from depression despite winning 1.9 million pounds sterling, as a result of which she became addicted to alcohol and drugs.

Ten years later, Callie Rogers said about the win:

Even if you say that his life will not change, this will happen… And often not for the better.

It is therefore not surprising that the ban is justified by the high susceptibility of young people to the charms of gambling. Other countries are already one step ahead on this point. In Germany, for example, the State Treaty on Gaming regulates the protection of minors extremely strictly: lottery tickets and scratch tickets may only be purchased at the age of 18.

But also in Great Britain, the demands for better youth protection and for effective measures for the limitation of the gambling become ever louder. It is therefore quite possible that minors will be denied access to scratch tickets and other National Lottery games by law in the future.

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