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National Lottery minimum age to rise from 16 to 18 next year
8 December 2020, 05:57
The minimum age to play the National Lottery is to rise from 16 to 18 next year.
The announcement came as the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden launched a major review of gambling laws in a bid to protect children and vulnerable people.
The new age restriction will come into effect from October 2021 and online sales to 16 and 17 year olds are due to stop in April, according to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
Nigel Huddleston, minister for sport, tourism and heritage, said the age change would help ensure that the lottery is not a "gateway to problem gambling".
Mr Dowden said the gambling industry had evolved "at breakneck speed" and that the review aims to "help those who enjoy placing a bet to do so safely".
Protective measures such as stake and spend limits, advertising and promotional offers and whether extra protections for young adults are needed will all be looked at, DCMS said.
The review will also consider online restrictions, marketing and the powers of the Gambling Commission as part of a call for evidence, to examine how the industry has changed in the past 15 years.
The department said the Government recognises the need to balance people's enjoyment from gambling with the "right regulatory framework and protections".
The review will consider evidence on the action customers can take where they feel operators have breached social responsibility requirements, including interventions, as well as how to ensure children and young people are kept safe from gambling-related harm.
Mr Dowden said: "Whilst millions gamble responsibly, the Gambling Act is an analogue law in a digital age
"From an era of having a flutter in a high street bookmaker, casino, racecourse or seaside pier, the industry has evolved at breakneck speed.
"This comprehensive review will ensure we are tackling problem gambling in all its forms to protect children and vulnerable people. It will also help those who enjoy placing a bet to do so safely.
"This builds upon our clear track record of introducing tough measures to protect people from the risk of gambling harm - banning the use of credit cards, launching tighter age verification checks and cutting the maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals."
Mr Huddleston said: "We're committed to protecting young people from gambling-related harm which is why we are raising the minimum age for the National Lottery.
"Patterns of play have changed since its inception, with a shift towards online games, and this change will help make sure the National Lottery, although already low-risk, is not a gateway to problem gambling."