The legal age for playing the National Lottery is going up next year - here’s why

Tuesday, 8th December 2020, 9:15 am
Updated Tuesday, 8th December 2020, 9:16 am

The National Lottery age limit is set to rise next year as part of the UK government’s wider review of the gambling sector.

The legal age for playing the Lottery will rise from 16 to 18, and it’s possible that further restrictions could be brought in.

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Government review of gambling sector

The government is set to undertake a major review of the sector, which could result in limits on online stakes, restrictions on advertising and betting firms banned from sponsoring football shirts.

The age threshold for playing the National Lottery will rise from October 2021, but online sales to 16 and 17 year olds will stop in April 2021.

According to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the aim is to ensure that the regulations protect customers, while allowing those who gamble safely to be able to continue to do so.

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said the review’s aim was to tackle "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.”

The government has launched a review of gambling laws with a 16 week long call for evidence - which will run until the end of March 2021 - where the Gambling Commission's role and powers will also be looked at, alongside promotional offers.

The question of whether extra protections for children and young adults are needed will also be looked into, as will the actions that customers can take when they feel operators have breached responsibility requirements.

A testing regime for new products could also potentially come into place, which could result in the release of some gambling games being stopped, if they are found to be too dangerous for potential addicts.

Sport minister, Nigel 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."