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Minimum Age to Play the National Lottery Rising to 18

Last Updated: Friday 12th March 2021, 09:28

The National Lottery is making an important change to its rules from 22nd April, raising the minimum age of participation from 16 to 18.

Since the National Lottery started in 1994, you have been able to take part in games from the age of 16. However, the government announced last year that this minimum age would be increased to 18 and the change will now be implemented with the National Lottery’s full support.

National Lottery Age Limit FAQs

Find out the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the changes below:

Does the change apply to all games?

Yes. You will no longer be able to buy tickets for any National Lottery draw game, purchase scratchcards or play Instant Win games from 22nd April if you are under the age of 18.

Is it for online sales and retail purchases?

Yes. You won’t be able to play National Lottery games in-stores if you are under the age of 18, or play online. If you fall into this age category and have a National Lottery Direct Debit set up, this will be cancelled by 22nd April.

Can I still claim a prize if I’m under 18?

If you play before the change date and win, you are still eligible to receive your prize because you purchased your entry at a time when the rules allowed you to do so. You just need to come forward within 180 days of the draw taking place.

Can I still play a Lotto Lucky Dip after the change date if I win one?

If you are under the age of 18 and match two numbers on Lotto before 22nd April, you still win a Lucky Dip and can claim this after the change date.

What if I have an under-18 member in my syndicate?

If you manage a syndicate you need to make sure that all of the members in the group are at least 18 years of age from 22nd April. If you are in charge of a syndicate and under the age of 18, you will need to pass on the managerial responsibilities to someone older and leave the group.

Why is this change happening?

A government review was conducted last year to look into the gambling laws that were in place at the time, and it was decided that a change was needed to bring the National Lottery into line with the rest of the industry. Apart from National lottery games, the minimum age to gamble in the UK is 18.

What if I bet on the lottery rather than buy tickets?

If you use a betting service to wager on the results of a lottery draw, for example choosing EuroMillions numbers through a site such as, the existing rules already require you to be at least 18.

Is anything changing for over 18s?

No other changes are being introduced. If you are over the age of 18, you won’t notice any differences to the way you play and the rules remain exactly the same.

All National Lottery games and prizes are also staying the same. One possible consequence is that ticket sales may drop slightly as no one under the age of 18 can play, which would have a knock-on effect on the amount raised for good causes and prize funds.

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