The minimum age to partake in the National Lottery is set to be raised in a bid to stop problem gambling amongst teenagers. As such, those aged under 18 will be banned from playing Lotto and Thunderball, as well as games online, and purchasing scratchcards at supermarkets, newsagents, and petrol stations.
The government’s move to curb problem gambling amid the youth is not expected to go into effect until 2023.
Currently, gambling is illegal for those under 18 years of age, but the National Lottery is available to everyone over the age of 16.
The youngest person to win the EuroMillions is Jane Park who was only 17 years old when she scooped a whopping £1million.
Figures show that more than 200,00 16 and 17-year-olds regularly play the Lotto and buy scratchcards and a report in the House of Lords last month revealed that around 55,000 children with a gambling problem began by playing the lottery.
Matt Zarb-Cousin of campaigners Clean Up Gambling told The Mirror: “The younger you start gambling, the more likely you are to fall into addiction. All gambling should be restricted to 18 and over.”
The bid to raise the age limit by two years has been met with lots of support from various professionals, and while buying a lottery ticket has been considered a rite of passage for teenagers once they turn 16, many are vocal with their agreement on the minimum age policy.
It has been backed-up by the Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr. Frank Atherton, the European Lotto Betting Association, and the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Dr. Steve Sharman from East London University School of Psychology added: “Our research shows a robust link between legal youth gambling and adult gambling problems.”
Even Nigel Railton, the Chief Executive Officer of the lottery operator Camelot has commented, “For 25 years, the age has been 16 so it is probably a good time to look at it.”