The results of a recent investigation into the illegal sales of lottery scratch cards to minors in Ireland have revealed concerning results. At least a third of attempted purchases at licensed outlets were successful, sparking a re-energized drive by the National Lottery to implement better control measures.
The investigation was carried out by the ORNL, the Office of the Regulator of the National Lottery. The ORNL used underage mystery shoppers who had to attempt to purchase scratch cards, the purchase of which carries an age restriction of 18, from 510 retailers.
The mystery shoppers were all children between the ages of 15 and 17, and were tasked with purchasing €1 scratch cards. They were instructed to give their actual age if requested by the seller and to say they did not have ID on them if asked.
The results have revealed that retailers requested ID only 63% of the time, 5% of the purchases were successful, even after the buyers revealed that they were underage, and only 70% of the retailers had the required signage on display. The aim of the investigation was to ascertain to what extent the regulatory body is successfully controlling the industry and where its efforts are insufficient.
As per the National Lottery Act 2013, all retailers are required to display a sign which states that only over 18s may buy lottery products and that retailers must request ID if not 100% sure that a customer is 18 or older.
The National Lottery has taken responsibility for the findings and confirmed their accuracy. Its spokesperson has said that the organization continues to undertake the measures needed to ensure regulations are upheld. Protecting gamblers is part of the lottery’s central mandate and it remains committed to operating in a socially responsible way.
To this end, a Retail Compliance Manager has been appointed with the sole purpose of monitoring vendors and ensuring they comply with the law. In addition, Premier Lotteries Ireland has introduced new age limit signs to be displayed in all retail outlets.
As part of its social responsibility initiatives, the organization has also donated €220 million to social causes since it received the license in 2014. This has increased year on year as its operations have continued.
Approximately 40% of Irish adults participate in National Lottery games each year.
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