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Underage play on the National Lottery remains stable

News release

Ref: 04/11

Date: 21 September 2011

For immediate release

New research published today by the National Lottery Commission shows that the number of children under the age of 16 who claim to play the National Lottery has remained stable. Strict measures to discourage shopkeepers from selling tickets to children were introduced in 1999 and have been effective in reducing levels of underage play, which have been stable for the past five years.

The Commission, which regulates the National Lottery to make sure it is run fairly and its players are protected, commissions regular surveys in order to better understand underage play on the National Lottery. This survey of nearly 3,000 children aged between 11 and 15 in England and Wales was conducted independently by Ipsos MORI.

One in ten (10%) children aged 11-15 claimed to have played a National Lottery game in the past week. This is in line with levels of National Lottery play across recent years; overall rates of playing National Lottery games was 9% in 2008 and 2007. Of those who did claim in the 2011 survey to have played in the last week, 73% said that they did so with a parent or guardian present.

In response to the findings the Commission will continue work with the National Lottery operator Camelot, on ways to further reduce underage play and look in more depth into some of the issues this research raises.

Ben Haden, Director of Corporate Affairs at the Commission said:

“It is reassuring to note that measures in place to discourage play on National Lottery games continue to be effective and that underage play has remained steady for several years. However, the Commisison cannot be complacent and will continue to refine our regulation and work with Camelot to reduce ever further the persistent core of underage players.”

Julia Pye of Ipsos MORI, which conducted the research on behalf of the Commission, said:

“This research adds to the growing body of evidence which shows that rates of underage play on the National Lottery have stabilised. Its findings will help the Commission to identify new avenues for discouraging underage play, as well as providing useful evidence for academics, other regulators and the gambling industry.”

The full findings are available on the Commission’s website here and the Commission’s response to the findings here.

– ENDS –
p. Notes for editors

1. The National Lottery Commission is the non-departmental public body set up on 1 April 1999 to regulate the National Lottery. It regulates the National Lottery to ensure that players are treated fairly, the Nation’s interest in the Lottery is protected and that subject to that as much money as possible is raised for good causes.
2. The National Lottery will contribute £2.175 billion towards the costs of staging the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, of which £750 million will come from designated Lottery games including Dream Number, Scratchcards and online games. To date £630 million has been raised from designated games. The National Lottery Commission publishes quarterly reports on the progress towards the £750 million target on
3. The Commission has a programme of research which aims to understand the level of underage play on the National Lottery. This research is available at
4.The Ipsos MORI Young People Omnibus captured data from 2,739 school children aged 11-16 in England and Wales. Results presented here are based on 2,487 11-15 year olds interviewed. Children completed self-completion questionnaires in interviewer-supervised classroom sessions between January 23rd and April 15th 2011. Data have been weighted by gender, age and region to represent the known profile of secondary-age children in England and Wales.
5.Camelot Group Limited was awarded the third licence to operate the National Lottery, which came into effect on 1 February 2009. The licence competition was structured to reinvigorate the National Lottery and generate the greatest returns to good causes. During the two years that the third licence has been in place the National Lottery raised £180 million more for good causes than it would have done under the second licence agreement.
6. To subscribe to NLC press releases please contact Claire Wotherspoon 020 7016 3422 or email