The Lottery operator in Ireland has landed in big trouble after regulators found out that it is selling products to underage residents. The regulators suggest that over a third of the underage residents in the country can get access to lottery products.
The shocking news was revealed after the Office of the Regulator of the National Lottery (ORNL) tasked Ipsos MRBI to conduct a mystery shopper test. In this test individuals under 18 years of age were sent to 510 locations of the Irish National Lottery retailers to check if they could purchase lottery scratch cards, noted the Irish media on Wednesday.
The test was conducted in the summer of 2018 and involved some subjects who were as young as 15 years old. The results show that 37% of the lottery retailers agreed to sell the lottery scratch cards to these young buyers. The regulator has clarified that the young shoppers were only asked to initiate the buying process and none of them actually went on to buy these scratch cards.
The test also came out with other shocking results. About 27% of the retailers did not display any signage that suggested that ticket sales were sold only to people over 18 years of age. 67% shops displaying the age signs refused the requests of the mystery shoppers. About 51% of the retailers with no signage refused the underage purchase requests.
ORNL said that they welcome the results of the tests. They went on to claim that they like to get an “independent baseline” which could be used to chastise retailers and the Premier Lotteries Ireland, the national lottery operator. ORNL boss Carol Boate also noted that they will take swift action against all the retailers and ensure that they comply.
The saving grace for the lottery operator is that no 15-year-old has won a six-figure-jackpot in the country till date. This happened in Spain earlier this month, which caused a lot of unrest in the country. The country will be imposing strict regulations on private gambling operators’ advertisements soon. However, some suggest that they should not include the state-run lottery monopoly SELAE from the new regulations.
Back home in Ireland, the PLI isn’t making substantial efforts to reduce or eliminate underage gambling in the country. It is focusing its attention on online lottery betting operators like Lottoland who are licensed to operate in the country and are eating into the PLI’s profits.