When joining an online scratch card site, its common knowledge that you need to be 18 years of over. But when getting a traditional style paper-based scratch card from a store the age limit is only 16. This could be viewed as a little inconsistent and there has now been a call for the age limit to be increased.

Philip Davies who is an MP has lobbied for years to the House of Commons that scratch cards should only be purchased by people over 18. His constituency covers Denholme and Cullingworth and he was very strong in his views. He believes it should be looked at as a matter of priority to get the age restrictions to be consistent amongst all forms of gambling.

Mr Davies commented that when a recent health survey was conducted and the results showed that poorer people were far more likely to play bingo or buy scratch cards than rich people. And, of course, this industry has been booming. Could this be described as a form of exploitation?

Is there any justification as to why scratch cards can be purchased at the age of 16 when, across all other forms of gambling, the age is 18? To be fair there doesn’t seem to be any logical reasoning for this.

Helen Grant who is the Culture Minister has agreed to look into the scratch cards issue. So expect more support to be shown for a new age limit when buying scratch cards from stores.

Mims Davies (Minister in the Department for Digital) quoted in February 2019:

“Yes. We need to be very clear that gambling starts at 18. We are very clear that where people are connected to their communities and they want to support causes in appropriate ways – it’s not to stop people from having fun, but it’s also to protect those most vulnerable people. That’s where the Government needs to step in.”

The concern with this is, will those people then try to create online accounts fraudulently? There are so many gambling sites out there these days.

Of course, there are measures in place by gaming operators to avoid this. Many of these have been drastically enhanced after regulators cracking down heavily on the industry. The 2018/19 report from the Gambling Commission lists over 160 investigations. This resulted in fines made to providers of £19.6 million pounds.

The positive side to this is that the industry has reacted to the new regulations incredibly well. Strong adjustments have been introduced to all marketing avenues. All customers signing up to gambling sites, now go through possibly the most stringent approval process found anywhere. Chief Executive, Neil McArthur makes it clear that his mandate is to make the UK the fairest and safest place in the world to gamble.

This is definitely an interesting development in the National Lottery scratch card industry as they could be losing a large percentage of their income should any changes be made.

A Spokesperson from Camelot, said:

“We have no issue with a government review of the age limit for buying National Lottery products and are happy to assist in any way we can to help inform the decision.”

Even though the age limit in Europe is 18+, the UK still has a sixteen plus limit. But after years of scrutiny and the decisive actions taken by the Gambling Commission in recent years. It is almost a certainty that the age limit for paper Scratchcards will be changing very soon.

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