To Curb Problem Gambling, the UK National Lottery Imposes New Age Limit


Following a March report in the House of Lords that unearthed the fact that many children with a gambling problem start by playing the lottery, the UK National Lottery has raised the minimum age for playing to 18 instead of 16.

The change is scheduled to come into effect on April 22 this year. From then onwards, players under the legal age won’t be allowed to participate in lottery games either in retail stores or online. The change also applies to scratchcards, instant win games, and draw games.

Curbing problem gambling has been a massive issue in the UK, with figures showing that more than 55,000 children are addicted to gambling and more than 200,000 children aged 16 and 17 play the lotto and buy scratchcards on a regular basis.

The government has decided to deal with the problematic figures by encouraging healthy playing habits. The first step towards that goal is raising the age limit from 16 to 18, the same as for other forms of gambling.

With the gambling industry having expanded at breakneck speed during the unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials are concerned about youth gambling addiction. A strong connection between young people gambling legally and developing gambling problems later in life has necessitated some measures being taken.

No one is yet sure how this change will affect the industry, as around 200,000 players will no longer be able to participate in the lottery. As a frame of reference, UK gambling platforms have seen their revenue grow for many years now. According to Statista, the UK generated a GGY of £14.26 billion in 2019. Should the gambling industry embrace the incoming changes, revenue shouldn’t be badly affected, but the benefits in reducing problem gambling would be immense.