National Lottery loophole sees children gamble £350 a week

The National Lottery is allowing children to gamble hundreds of pounds a week online, according to latest figures.

Currently some 16-year-olds could be spending up to £350 a week on online games.

MPs and Peers have called for the National Lottery’s age limit to be raised to 18.


Latest figures show that from 2017-2018, 16 and 17-year-olds spent around £47m on National Lottery games.

While the age limit for gambling is 18, the National Lottery is exploiting a legal loophole to target 16 and 17-year-olds.

Earlier this month, a crossbench group of peers – backed by the Chief Medical Officer for Wales and the Royal College of Psychologists – released a report that called for the age limit for all National Lottery products to be raised to 18.

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Gambling Related Harm has written to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden saying the lottery’s limit should be raised to 18 as a “matter of urgency”.


Carolyn Harris MP, Chair of the group, said it was “imperative” to close the loophole to stop the lottery targeting children.

Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England, added: “It’s surprising, given the large, worrying and well-established numbers of children who problem gamble, that any gaming platform should have a lower age limit than any other.”

In June, a group of 50 prominent MPs called for a complete ban on gambling advertising to protect the vulnerable, following a year-long inquiry into the UK’s online betting industry.

In its report the APPG for Gambling Related Harm made more than 30 recommendations, including a ban on all betting advertising, a £2 stake limit on online slot machines and an end to VIP schemes.

Also see:

‘Toothless’ gambling watchdog slammed by MPs

MPs call for ‘complete overhaul’ of online gambling industry

Gambling addict explains how lockdown helped him

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