Legal lottery age to lift as Gambling Commission announces review of Act

Gambling Commission announces review of Gambling Act

UK gambling laws will undergo a wide-ranging review after the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden described the Gambling Act as “an analogue law in a digital age”. 

The UK Government has now launched a review of the the Gambling Commission and its functions in a bid to modernise its operations. 

The review is also recommending raising the minimum age for the National Lottery from 16 to 18 and will deeply consider introducing stakes, age limits and gambling advertising changes. 

More: Gambling sites in the UK

Critics of the Gambling Commission believe the industry has changed too much in the past 15 years and now requires an updated manifesto, which addresses social responsibility, consumer protection and problem gambling. 

Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital Culture, Media and Sport, said the review was an imperative tool in bringing gambling regulation into the digital age. 

“Whilst millions gamble responsibly, the Gambling Act is an analogue law in a digital age. From an era of having a flutter in a high street bookmaker, casino, racecourse or seaside pier, the industry has evolved at breakneck speed,” he said. 

“This comprehensive review will ensure we are tackling 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.

“This builds upon our clear track record of introducing tough measures to protect people from the risk of gambling harm – banning the use of credit cards, launching tighter age verification checks and cutting the maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals.”

While the minimum age for the lotto has traditionally been 16 in the United Kingdom, Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage Nigel Huddleston said the digital age had created a new set of problems. 

He said the Government’s recent action on cutting the maximum stakes on fixed-odds betting terminals and tighter age and verification were proof the commission was adapting. 

“We’re committed to protecting young people from gambling-related harm which is why we are raising the minimum age for the National Lottery,” he said. 

”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.”

The Gambling Commission’s review is also expected to look extensively at the role of esports betting and whether loot boxes need to be restricted further, with mainstream media reporting kids as young as 11 were gambling on them online. 

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