National Lottery is ‘causing harm to problem gamblers’ by pursuing addictive games, say MPs

MPs were told that there was an uptick in online sales during the pandemic as highstreets went quite due to coronavirus – Andrew Milligan/PA Wire/ Andrew Milligan/PA Wire The National Lottery is causing harm to problem gamblers and young people by pursuing “dangerous and addictive” online games instead of making […]

MPs were told that there was an uptick in online sales during the pandemic as highstreets went quite due to coronavirus -  Andrew Milligan/PA Wire/ Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
MPs were told that there was an uptick in online sales during the pandemic as highstreets went quite due to coronavirus – Andrew Milligan/PA Wire/ Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

The National Lottery is causing harm to problem gamblers and young people by pursuing “dangerous and addictive” online games instead of making money for good causes, MPs have said.

Conservative and Labour politicians have accused Camelot, who run the National Lottery, of turning it from a “church fete” into gambling platform where children as young as 16 can spend up to £350 per week through its app.

Carolyn Harris MP, Chair of the APPG for Gambling Related Harm told the Telegraph: “The lottery used to be akin to a church fete, fast forward 20 years and they are now offering highly addictive gambling products such as online instant win games.”

“Their remit is to make money for good causes not profiteering or causing potential harm to problem gamblers and children [aged 16 or over]. Urgent change is needed and the Government must address this.”

At a meeting of the APPG on Wednesday, Nigel Railton, the Camelot CEO, admitted that the National Lottery makes around 20 million a week from instant win games.

He told MPs that Camelot was aware of thousands of child gamblers with active accounts.

Nigel Railton, said “I’ve got three children and they’re all under 16. Would I be happy with my kids playing National Lottery products at 16? Yes, I would.”

He did not deny that he would be happy with his children spending £350 per week on the National Lottery’s dozens of instant win games.

“Well, my kids at 16 or 17 won’t have that sort of money and not many 16 or 17 year olds do have that sort of money,” he added.

Since 2016 Camelot has four times applied to introduce a £10 per play instant win game, which have been approved by the Gambling Commission each time.

Conservative MP Richard Holden told the Camelot CEO that the company cannot pretend that it isn’t a gambling platform when it sells instant win games which are “more dangerous, especially for young people.”

“Instant win is something that obviously is concerning, because obviously the addictive element there is much higher,” he said.

A Camelot spokesperson said that there is “not currently evidence of a significant risk of harm to 16 and 17-year-olds from playing” and it will do “everything in its power” to implement any changes the Government wants to make.

They suggested that the average 16 and 17 year old on their platforms has “an extremely low average weekly spend” with only around 500 playing instant win games.

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