EXCL: Ban sale of scratch cards to 16- and 17-year-olds, says Sports Minister

Posted On: 
21st February 2019

Sixteen and 17-year-olds will be banned from purchasing scratch cards under fresh plans being considered by the Government.

Mims Davies is a minister in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Credit: 
Louise Haywood-Schiefer

In an interview with The House magazine, Sports Minister Mims Davies said she wants to take action to ensure that gambling does not start until 18.

“Buying scratch cards at lotteries, 16- and 17-year-olds. I would like to act there. I’d be hopeful to do that soon,” she told The House.

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When asked if she was planning to outlaw the sale of scratch cards to 16- and 17-year-olds, she replied:

“Yes. We need to be very clear that gambling starts at 18. We are very clear that where people are connected to their communities and they want to support causes in appropriate ways – it’s not to stop people from having fun, but it’s also to protect those most vulnerable people. That’s where the Government needs to step in.”

An audit by the Gambling Commission last year found the number of people aged 11-16 addicted to gambling has reached 55,000, with 70,000 at risk of developing a problem.

According to the statistics, 450,000 children bet regularly.

Gambling companies in December agreed to a “whistle-to-whistle” TV advertising ban during live sports broadcasts. And this month it emerged that gambling adverts will no longer be allowed to appear on websites or in computer games that are popular with children.

When asked whether there were plans to ban gambling sponsorships on sports clothing, Ms Davies added:

“You can’t advertise with children’s shirts – rightly so. You’ve seen that the industry has come to the table on the whistle to whistle banning,” she replied.

“We’ve done a gambling review, there are still work and outcomes that we are delivering on that. But that review is ongoing. It doesn’t mean that we’ve stopped.”