National Lottery Regulator publishes report on underage sales
The National Lottery has acknowledged that it is falling short in its responsibilities when it comes to ensuring purchasers of Lottery products are over the age of 18, according to a new report by the National Lottery Regaulator.
23 January 2019 | 0
A new report by the National Lottery Regulator has revealed a significant number of retailers are not compliant with regulations surrounding the sale/purchase of National Lottery products. The report, titled Test Purchasing Exercise on Under-age Purchase of National Lottery Products in Retail Premises, was published this week and prompted reaction from several sections of the industry.
The mystery shop report included the following key findings:
- The mandatory ‘Over 18’ sign was found to be on display in 73% of retail premises, and absent in 27% of premises
- Underage test purchasers were challenged (i.e. asked their age and/or for ID) by the staff member in 63% of purchase attempts and not challenged by either means in 37% of instances
In a majority of purchase attempts (62%), the staff member refused to sell the scratch card to the test purchaser, while almost four in 10 purchase attempts were refused.
Commenting on the new figures and report, Carol Boate, regulator of the National Lottery Ireland, referred to the National Lottery Act 2013, which prohibits the sale of National Lottery products to minors and establishes codes of conduct surrounding the products.
“The findings of the research commissioned by my office show that the current level of compliance with those codes in the Retail Sector is not good enough,” Boate said. “A key part of my remit as Regulator is to ensure the National Lottery is run with all due propriety and I am engaging with PLI to ensure that action is taken swiftly so that all retailers comply in full with their obligations and PLI significantly improves its future monitoring of retailers selling National Lottery products.”
Responding to the results of the report, RGDATA welcomed the publication and suggested that the levels of compliance were substantial, representing a baseline against which future results should be measured.
“The results of this survey demonstrate that there is substantial compliance by retailers to signage and age verification requirements of the National Lottery licence,” said Tara Buckley, director general of RGDATA. “There is room for improvement, of course, and we are aware that the National Lottery is working closely with its retail agents to ensure that they are cognisant of their responsibilities on the sale of tickets to minors.
“RGDATA also provides advice and guidance to our members in relation to best practice in this area,” Buckley added, “and we have updated that advice to take on board the issues highlighted in this report.”
The Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association (CSNA) also sent out a text alert to members in relation to the findings, highlighting the need to act in a continually responsible fashion.
Meanwhile, the National Lottery responded by acknowledging the findings of the Regulator’s survey, stating that it is committed to working to prevent the sale of its products to underage customers.
“We now have an independent baseline from which to improve our controls,” the National Lottery said in a statement following publication of the report. “We are, and continue to be, committed to operating at all times in a socially responsible way and are conscious of our responsibilities in this regard.”
Reacting to the report, the National Lottery said that since the survey was carried out, it has taken a number a additional steps to ensure players’ ages are verified. These include:
- The appointment of a Retail Compliance Manager to ensure all retail agents are fulfilling their obligations under the National Lottery Act 2013, the Licence and the Codes of Practice
- Branding National Lottery point-of-sale equipment in all stores with age control messaging
- Including in the bi-monthly Star Game News newsletter, which is issued to all retailers, reminders to verify a player’s age
According to the National Lottery’s internal audit verifications, more than 98% of its core retail network has 18+ messaging in store.
The National Lottery added that since it was informed of the Regulator’s report, it had taken several steps in response to its findings, including reminder messages being posted on Lottery terminals for staff, age control messaging on more than 2,000 screens in stores around the country, updated messaging on the retail portal home page and more.
“In addition,” the statement said, “we will meet with the Office of the Regulator of the National Lottery and our Retail Council to look at further opportunities to enhance our programme of controls.”
To learn more about the research and its findings, click here to visit the National Lottery Regulator.