The national lottery has made a huge contribution to life in the UK since it was launched in 1994, raising over £43 billion for arts, sports, heritage and community projects. More recently, it has contributed over £1.2 billion to those affected by the coronavirus pandemic, supporting everything from our outdoor spaces to our museums, theatres and sports clubs, helping to keep us active, entertained and safe.
Following a consultation, the Government announced last year that they was raising the age at which national lottery tickets can be bought and sold from 16 to 18, protecting young people from the possible risk of gambling harm. The legislation comes into force on October 1 and the operator and retailers have already stopped selling tickets to anyone aged below 18.
Since then, it has emerged that the increase to 18 for the minimum age to sell in particular may lead to operational difficulties for some retailers who employ young people aged 16 and 17.
In order to balance the need for a smooth transition for retailers with the intent of the original policy, this consultation published today seeks views on a minor technical easement which would introduce an approved sales mechanism for national lottery products. This will be based on the systems already in place for alcohol sales in England, Wales and Scotland, and sales of tobacco and nicotine vaping products in Scotland, through which a designated person aged 18 or over can approve a sale by someone under 18 years old. This approach therefore builds on an existing framework and maintains the intent of the original policy.
I look forward to hearing views of interested parties during the consultation.