Gambling laws in the UK are set to be reviewed and modernised in order to protect children and vulnerable people in the age of online gambling.
Jane Imrie

National Lottery minimum age to be raised as gambling laws updated for digital era

Gambling laws in the UK are set to be reviewed and modernised in order to protect children and vulnerable people in the age of online gambling.

Alongside the launch of the review, the government has announced its decision to raise the minimum age to play the National Lottery from 16 to 18, in a bid to protect young people from gambling related harm.

Online restrictions, marketing and the powers of the Gambling Commission will be looked at as part of a call for evidence, to examine in detail how gambling has changed over the past 15 years.

Protections for online gamblers like stake and spend limits, advertising and promotional offers and extra protections for young adults will all be examined.

The findings will be used to inform any changes to the Gambling Act 2005 in an attempt to balance customer satisfaction with safety and support.

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, explained: “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.

“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.”

Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage, Nigel Huddleston, added: “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.”

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