Research has found that more than a third of under-18s were able to buy National Lottery scratch cards.
The National Lottery Act 2013 prohibits the sale of National Lottery products to anyone under 18 years of age.
However, the Office of the Regulator of the National Lottery (ORNL) has today published a report after teams of mystery shoppers were sent to 510 shops around the country to attempt to buy a €1 scratch card. The shoppers comprised of one Ipsos MRBI qualified adult interviewer and a person aged 15, 16 or 17 to buy the scratch cards.
The adult interviewer was responsible for assessing the display of mandatory signage. The role of the test purchaser was to attempt to purchase a €1 scratch card. If questioned about their age, the test purchaser gave his/her true age and if asked for ID, the test purchaser stated that he/she was not carrying ID.
Carol Boate, Regulator of the National Lottery Ireland said: "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.
"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.
While the majority of retailers were fully compliant, Ms Boate said the percentage which were not implementing the rules properly was "significant and unacceptable".
They found that 27% of premises did not have the mandatory ‘Over 18’ sign on display, while 37% of underage test purchasers were not asked their age and/or for ID when buying scratch cards.
The research also found that 38% of retailers did not refuse to sell the scratch cards to the minors.
The ORNL then commissioned Ipsos MRBI to carry out a follow-up exercise in which they asked 1005 children, from age 10 to 17 years old, about whether they had ever bought National Lottery tickets themselves with their own money. Up to 3.8%, or 38 children, said that they had.
The National Lottery Act 2013 prohibits the sale of National Lottery products to anyone under 18 years of age. The Codes of Practice also require the visible display of a mandatory ‘Over 18’ sign in every retail premises and that retail agents ask for photographic ID where the customer is not clearly aged 18 years or over.
The National Lottery has said retailers are contractually obliged not to sell National Lottery games to under 18s and must commit to their Sales Code of Practice to ask for age verification if in any doubt.
Since the survey, the National Lottery has taken a number of additional steps to ensure that players’ ages are verified.
Meanwhile, two lucky EuroMillions players are both €500,000 richer today after winning the top prize in night’s Plus draw.
The National Lottery confirmed that one of the tickets was a Quick Pick ticket, purchased yesterday at the Circle K service station in Kill North, Co Kildare. The other winning Quick Pick ticket was sold on January 20 online.
There was no winner of the €70,256,484 EuroMillions jackpot which means that Friday’s jackpot now rolls to €80m.