UK Lottery Operator Camelot to Implement New 18+ Restriction Online by April 2021

  • Camelot aims to establish the 18+ limit across its retail channels this coming summer 
  • The government's new age requirement will need to be fully in place by October 2021
  • Age revision is the first confirmed regulatory reform as part of the Gambling Act review 
  • The review seeks to update 2005 legislation and make it relevant for the digital age
  • The UKGC will nominate a new National Lottery licensee in September next year
computer mouse connected to lottery balls
Camelot aims to have the new 18+ minimum age requirement for lottery participation in the UK in place across its online channels by April 2021. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

A fast-tracked timeline

In response to the UK government’s decision to raise the minimum age of lottery participants from 16 to 18, UK National Lottery operator Camelot aims to introduce the new requirement across its online channels by early April 2021. The alterations to the operator’s retail channels will then take place over the summer, with the government requiring all changes to be in place by October 2021.

Camelot issued a statement on December 8 discussing a timeline to complete all moves. The lottery body will focus on implementing the new 18+ requirement as quickly as possible, without sacrificing the high standards the National Lottery demands. The plan’s execution will be conditional on the relevant regulatory approvals from the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). Camelot reiterated its full support for the government’s resolution to revise the minimum player age to 18 years old.

The Camelot-operated National Lottery has a network of 44,000 independently owned retailers in the UK, and a customer base of more than 8.5 million active players.

First review measure confirmed

Camelot’s commitment to changing the minimum lottery playing age follows the UK government’s launch of a review of the Gambling Act 2005 on December 8. The age revision was the first confirmed regulatory reform of the review process, communicated that same day.

make sure the National Lottery is not a gateway to problem gambling”

UK Minister for Sport, Tourism, and Heritage Nigel Huddleston said the change will “make sure the National Lottery is not a gateway to problem gambling.” The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced that the new law will come into force in October 2021, while online lottery ticket sales to under-18s must stop in April.

Modernizing gambling legislation

The current UK Gambling Act dates back to 2005. Through the ongoing review, the Department of Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport aims to render this legislation fit for the digital age. Other measures that await re-evaluation include deposit limits, stake limits, and restrictions on gambling-related advertising.

legislation fit for the digital age

A number of gambling operators welcomed the announcement of the review on Tuesday, including William Hill and Flutter Entertainment. William Hill chief executive Ulrik Bengtsson said he hopes for an evidence-based process that seeks to strike an ideal balance between protecting at-risk gamblers and allowing customers the freedom to enjoy occasional play. 

Betting and Gaming Council chief executive Michael Dugher also reacted positively to the news of the review launch, but warned that drastic measures could drive people over to the black market.

A competitive bidding process

The UKGC launched the tender process to award the fourth National Lottery license in August. It had planned to kick off the bidding period earlier, but the COVID-19 pandemic led to delays.

Camelot was the recipient of all three previous licenses to date. This time, it is up against Indian lottery operator Sugal & Damani and the Czech Republic-based Sazka Group, both of which announced their intention to bid. Camelot’s current operating permit expires in July 2023, and the UKGC is set to announce the next licensee in September 2021.

The upcoming license will carry a ten-year term. Fresh changes will come with it, including a new incentive mechanism for the licensee, plus added flexibility to maximize funds going to good causes while still ensuring fair play.