Under-18s Can’t play National Lottery Games from April 22

Under-18s Can’t play National Lottery Games

If you are aged below 18, then your days of playing the National Lottery are numbered. From Thursday April 22, you will need to be 18 years of age to play their games.

At present, the minimum age is 16 but that’s all about to change. The government believe that over the years, the nature of the games offered by the National Lottery has changed dramatically.
It’s not just about choosing some numbers for the next Lotto draw and hoping you become a millionaire. There’s a seemingly endless stream of scratchcards and online games that can also be played.

The government’s fear is that under-18s playing these games will cause problems later in life. They don’t want to see the lottery games becoming a “gateway to problem gambling.” The issue was discussed in the House of Commons last December.

UK Government’s Fears

The Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage, Nigel Huddleston said: “Protecting young people from the risk of gambling-related harm is of paramount importance,” hence the decision to raise the age limit for playing National Lottery games. He did say though that playing the lottery is “low-risk.”

Their decision came after a report showed the problems lottery games can cause. Of an estimated 55,000 children who had reported gambling problems, many had begun by playing the lottery and scratchcards. Playing responsible online is a key issue for the Government.

The Minister added that the government were “keen to make this change at pace while being acutely aware of the need to give retailers and the operator (Camelot) time to ensure a smooth transition.” October 2021 was mentioned but the government said if it could be done sooner, “it is done sooner,” and so it has.

More changes may well happen in the future as the government take a close look at gambling in the UK.

A National Lottery spokesman said that the change will apply to all games, whether purchased in stores, played online or on their app.

National Lottery Support

The spokesman added that the National Lottery “fully support” the decision that has been made by the government. “Encouraging healthy play is at the heart of everything we do,” said the National Lottery spokesman. The importance of setting deposit limits and even taking a break from playing can help prevent gambling problems developing.

Those who are under the age of 18 will still be able to claim any wins they get before April 22. They will also be able to go online and log into their account. Only until November 30 though. If still not 18 by that date, then their account will be closed. Then it’ll just be a case of waiting for their 18th birthday to come along, so a new account can be opened.

Syndicates that are run by someone aged under 18 will need to find a new leader. They won’t be able to be part of the syndicate either. If you are looking to become a lottery millionaire, then your 18th birthday is really going to be one to celebrate.