The Regulator of the National Lottery has confirmed that under section 42 of the National Lottery Act 2013, it is a criminal offence to sell or offer for sale a National Lottery ticket to a minor. However, the Regulator does not have the mandate to initiate criminal investigations or to prosecute criminal offences.
The remit of the Regulator with regard to potential sales to minors is to monitor and enforce the obligations on the Operator of the National Lottery contained in the Act and the Licence.
In 2018 the Regulator conducted a mystery shopping exercise to assess retailer compliance with measures in the Sales Code of Practice designed to prevent sales to minors (such as the requirement to ask anyone who is not clearly 18 years or over for ID).
The Operator is required by the Licence to use its “best endeavours” to secure retailer compliance with the Code. Since the findings of this exercise were published, in January 2019, the Regulator has been engaging with the Operator and monitoring their endeavours to swiftly and substantially ameliorate retailer compliance with the provisions of the Code relating to underage purchases.