The UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) launched a public consultation Tuesday on potential changes to the minimum age requirement for playing National Lottery Games.

The consultation is in response to the rising revenue contribution from scratch and instant win games and societal concerns over young people’s exposure to gambling.

The minimum gambling age in Great Britain is 18 years old, although UK National Lottery games are available to players over the age of 16, with some evidence that “a very small number” of under 16s also play National Lottery games.

According to the government, 16 and 17 year-olds accounted for National Lottery sales revenue of £47m in 2017/18, with scratch and instant win games representing 68 per cent of this figure.

The consultation examines three proposals: retaining the current 16-years age limit; raising the minimum age for scratch and instant win games to 18; or raising the minimum age for all National Lottery products to 18.

Minister for Sport and Civil Society, Mims Davies, said Tuesday that she is minded to take a proportionate, precautionary approach to protect 16 and 17 year olds from possible or future harm.

“After an initial review of the evidence, my view is that the option that fits best with this approach is to increase the minimum age to 18 for instant win games (scratchards and online instant win games) and to maintain a minimum age of 16 for draw-based games and I welcome views on this,” Davies said.

The current licence held by Camelot to operate the UK National Lottery is due to expire in 2023, with the bidding process for the next license scheduled to begin in 2020. The government will therefore aim to have a clear position on the minimum age policy before the start of the formal bidding process.

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