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UK to Focus on Ending Underage Gambling

Underage gambling

The UK Minister for Sports & Civil Society (DCMS) Mims Davies recently said that the National Lottery needs to make adjustments as the government aims to set higher standards across all gambling disciplines in the UK. Davies spoke to Commons ‘House Magazine’ focusing on her endeavor to end all forms of underage gambling and betting in the UK.

Davies wants to change gambling laws in the country which set the minimum age requirements of 18+ for any form of licensed betting or gambling. She said that the ‘soon to be put forward’ mandate will also end the sale of National Lottery scratch cards and ticket draws for teenagers. The current law allows consumers aged 16 and over to buy these tickets.

She also noted that the governments want to clarify to merchants, consumers and the gambling industry that gambling begins at the age of 18. The mandate from her department will be reviewed soon. The government believes that these measures are necessary, specially after the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) revealed that over three-quarters of children can purchase scratch cards and lottery tickets. It also noted that about 17% of children between 11 and 15 years had bought scratch cards. Of these, 6 of 10 children said that it was fun. 34% believed that they could win a jackpot while 25% said that they had a chance to win something.

The UK government needs to take steps towards reducing the harmful impact of gambling. Recently, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sports (DCMS) said that it only intends to consult on the possible increase of age limit when the National Lottery license competition occurs in 2023.

The department’s mandate falls in line with the series of recommendations put forward by the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB). In a research titled ‘Gambling, children and young people: A Case for action,’ the board recommended the government to review allowing 16-year olds to buy National Lottery tickets. The June 2018 report focused extensively on underage gambling and enhanced risk prevention measures.

The RGSB is also supporting UK health stakeholders, stating that underage gambling could be reduced further if the government took more initiatives. It recommended them to create a bigger pool of guardians for this problem with help and support from app stores, retail merchants, search engines and even schools.

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