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Lottery age limit to rise amid UK gambling crackdown

Lucy Harley-McKeown
·2-min read
The age limit of buying a lottery ticket will increase from 16 to 18. Photo: Getty
The age limit of buying a lottery ticket will increase from 16 to 18. Photo: Getty

The National Lottery age limit is set to rise from 16 to 18 from next October, amid a major and “wide-ranging review” of the sector.

The review could include placing limits of the sale of online tickets, cap casino stakes and put new restrictions on advertising. Betting firms may also be banned from sponsoring football shirts.

There may also be testing brought into place for games, which could be barred if they are deemed too dangerous for potential addicts.

The only concrete change announced so far is lotto ticket age limits.

The government is looking for views on what should be changed in the form of a call for evidence. This will run for 16 weeks until the end of March 2021.

The government has said the current legislation, established back in 2005 — before the heyday of the smartphone — was "an analogue law in a digital age."

Culture minister Oliver Dowden looks to change many of the regulations brought in during the time Tony Blair was prime minister.

Dowden said the industry has "evolved at breakneck speed," and new rules would tackle "problem gambling in all its forms to protect children and vulnerable people."

READ MORE: Pound under pressure as Boris Johnson heads to Brussels for Brexit talks

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."

Previous fines by regulators brought against Paddy Power Betfair, one of the UK’s largest gambling companies, totalled £2.2m ($2.9m), after the company failed to stop stolen money being gambled on its website, and also failed to protect customers showing signs of problem gambling.

Shares of Flutter (FLTR.L) the holding company created by the merger of Paddy Power and Betfair, and the later acquisition of The Stars Group dipped 1.3% in early trade in London.

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