The biggest change for the gambling industry in the UK for the previous week was implementing the higher age limit for purchasing lottery tickets. Starting last week, individuals under 18 are not allowed to participate in the National Lottery. As gambling addiction among teens in the UK has become a concerning issue, the government decided to raise the legal age for participation in the National Lottery.
Meanwhile, last week the government decided to do its own investigation on Football Index and review the way the UK Gambling Commission and other regulators were overseeing the platform’s operation.
Teens Under 18 Can No Longer Play the National Lottery
Although UK individuals younger than 18 years of age are not allowed to participate in gambling activities, until last week, those who were 16 or older could play the National Lottery. Recent reports show that gambling addiction is a serious issue among younger individuals in the UK, with 55,000 kids reported to have gambling addiction problems. This is the reason why the government decided to ban individuals younger than 18 from playing the National Lottery.
As the new legal age limit was officially raised on 22 April 2021, whether it is online, on the app, or in store, if players want to play the National Lottery, they need to be 18 or older. A National Lottery spokesperson reported that they fully agree with the new age restrictions and he reminded players they can also set weekly deposit and spending limits, spend less time playing Instant Win Games, and even take some time off playing National Lottery games.
While lottery tickets were often given to younger teens as Christmas or birthday presents, they will no longer be allowed to play any National Lottery games if they are under 18. The new age restriction will lead to thousands of accounts being closed. This being said, individuals who are 16 or 17 and have purchased tickets before 22 April will be allowed to claim their prizes, even if they were won after the new age limit was accepted. Such individuals will have 180 days to redeem their winnings and will have access to their National Lottery accounts until 30 November 2021.
Those who turn 18 before 30 November 2021 will continue to have access to their online National Lottery accounts and will be allowed to purchase tickets and scratch cards and continue playing. Meanwhile, those who are under the age of 18 will have their accounts closed and will be able to create new accounts once they turn 18.
The impact for players over the age of 18 will be minimal and they will be able to play National Lottery games relying on all usual methods. The majority of National Lottery retailers will be able to automatically update their 18+ customers’ FastPay cards or they can do that when players visit one of the National Lottery stores.
UK Government to Independently Review Football Index
Last week, the UK government announced that it will review the football stock market platform Football Index after its collapse last month. As the crash of the operator led to almost £90 million combined losses among consumers, government officials decided to appoint an independent expert to review the operational failures of Football Index.
The investigation will focus on the UK Gambling Commission and whether it used the correct steps to regulate Football Index. After the platform made a surprising announcement for a decrease in dividends, many of its customers were quick to withdraw their funds. Football Index, however, was forced to stop trading and customers were denied access to their accounts.
John Whittingdale, Minister of State for Media and Data, shared his understanding of the customers of the platform who have suffered huge losses due to Football Index’s unstable operations. This is why the Gambling Act is being reviewed and the government is taking more actions to protect UK gamblers.
The review will concentrate on investigating the Gambling Commission and any other relevant regulators and evaluating the measures taken by them to regulate Football Index and the services it provided. The goal of the review is to establish any regulatory failings and discover ways to improve the regulation of similar complex products.
The results from the review will be very useful for the ongoing revision of the 2005 Gambling Act, with football shirt sponsorships being one major issue. Recently, it was revealed that a huge number of major football clubs are often promoting illegal gambling through their sponsorships with gambling platforms.