Since the National Lottery launched in 1994, the legal age to buy a scratchcard and lottery ticket in the UK is 16.
These age restrictions meant that anybody aged 16 or over could play any National Lottery game – in store or online.
However, on the 22nd March 2021, National Lottery announced via their website that the minimum age to buy and play National Lottery scratchcards (and other lottery games) will increase to 18.
The following banner was displayed on the website prior to the change:
This rule change means that anybody under the age of 18 can no longer buy or claim a prize for any National Lottery game, including scratchcards and lottery.
There are a few different terms and conditions for players who are currently under 18 but have had an online National Lottery account when when the age was still 16.
For full information on age rules, you can visit this link to go to the relevant National Lottery page.
Why have the age restrictions been updated?
There has been a lot of pressure on the UK Government to enforce National Lottery to make changes.
In July 2019, Culture Minister Mims Davies, announced plans to increase the age from 16 to 18 for scratchcard players.
In a quote, Mims Davies said:
The age of 18 is widely recognised as an age one becomes an adult, gaining full citizenship rights and the responsibilities.
At present, all lotteries can be played from 16 – one of the very few age limits for gambling under-18 products.
So in addition to the option to raise the minimum age to 18 for all National Lottery games and retaining the current limit of 16, I’m also seeking views on a differentiated approach that would increase the minimum age of instant win games only – this includes scratchcards and online instant win games.Mims Davies, Culture Minister
However, it is unlikely that any changes to the age could happen any time soon. With National Lottery’s contract not up for renewal, it is unlikely that the Government could force any change without fear of a backlash and lawsuit from National Lottery operators, Camelot.
How old do you have to be to play online scratchcards?
With the age for National Lottery scratchcards being 16, this does not apply for online scratchcards. When you purchase an online scratchcard from a site such as Lottomart or William Hill, the legal age to play is 18.
To ensure that you can claim any online scratchcard winnings, ensure that you verify your age in your account.