The Camelot Group has stopped selling its popular £10 scratchcards. The company, which operates the UK National Lottery, has made this move in an ongoing effort to tackle gambling addiction.
Retailers were instructed to stop selling the cards and remove them from displays from 27 September onwards. Any cards that remain unsold after this date are to be returned to Camelot.
A spokesperson for the company said the following on the scratchcard’s withdrawal:
‘Our decision to stop selling £10 scratchcards was based on player protection considerations. A part of the ongoing work we carry out is to ensure all of our players can play in a healthy and enjoyable way; we became aware that, unlike any of our other scratchcards, these particular games over-indexed among problem gamblers.’
A spokesperson from the UK Gambling Commission had this to say:
‘After careful consideration of new evidence, both the Commission and the Licensee agreed all scratchcards at the £10 price point should be removed from sale until we are satisfied the risks posed to our duties are mitigated. Whilst there is likely to be some negative impact on good causes, the Commission is satisfied that this decision reflects the primacy of our first two duties and was necessary and proportionate.’
It’s clear from this that the Camelot Group expects to experience a dip in revenue following the removal of the £10 scratchcards. Even so, the company seems prepared for such a dip for the sake of helping with gambling addiction. For every £1 that’s spent on the National Lottery, 24p goes towards good causes, including various charity projects.
The Camelot Group hopes that by withdrawing the £10 scratchcards from retailers, it will go some way to help those who have problems with gambling. Statistics have shown that of all the people who regularly purchase the cards, fewer than 1% actually have any sort of classifiable gambling problem.
Even though this figure is very low, the fact remains that some people playing the lottery are suffering from gambling addiction. Companies like The Camelot Group and organisations such as the UK Gambling Commission are committed to eradicating such problems, even if they only affect a small percentage of the player base.
More changes to protect people from gambling addiction may be on the way. Since July, the UK government has been considering raising the minimum age for purchasing scratchcards of any price from 16 to 18. This would obviously focus on the lottery’s youngest players; it’s very likely that more measures to alleviate addiction among older players will be introduced at some point in the near future.
The UK National Lottery has been in operation since 1994. There are seven main games and together they create an average of six millionaires per week. Scratchcards can be purchased for as little as £1 each. With £10 scratchcards being withdrawn, it remains to be seen whether there will be a noticeable effect on gambling problems among lottery players. As it stands, there’s nothing stopping someone simply purchasing a number of cheaper scratchcards instead of one costing £10.
Those who have recently purchased a £10 scratchcard and won needn’t worry – their win will still be honored by the Camelot Group. The lottery rules state that if you win a cash prize, you have 180 days from the game’s closure date to claim the prize. Therefore, even though the £10 scratchcards have been withdrawn, those with one of the cards are still eligible to claim any prizes won.
Following the removal of the £10 scratchcard, the highest-priced scratchcard now in circulation costs £5.