Calls to overhaul National Lottery amid growing scratchcard concerns

MPs and campaigners have called for the National Lottery to be overhauled amid growing concerns that its scratchcards and online games fuel problem gambling, as reported by the Guardian.

The groups are also worried that there is a decline in the proportion of National Lottery revenues going to good causes. The calls come amid a competition to run the lottery from 2024, with the successful applicant to be announced within the next two months.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, Vice-Chair of the ​​All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Related Harm, said: “There should be a fixed percentage on the amount that goes to good causes. The operator is beginning to look like any other gambling company.”

According to the Guardian, scratchcards sold in stores and instant online games account for 44% of the lottery’s total revenues. Around 9% of income from scratchcards and 12% from instant-win games goes to good causes, compared to 31% of income from draw-based games.

There are now growing concerns that scratchcards and online instant-win games are more likely to be associated with problem gambling than the traditional weekly draw.

“Focusing solely on the amount generated for good causes in percentage terms paints a deliberately misleading and damaging picture of the health of the National Lottery,” said current lottery operator Camelot. “By making the National Lottery more attractive and generous to players, we’re delivering record sales, prize money and payments in lottery duty to the Treasury. 

“Annual returns to good causes are now over £500m ($680m) higher than they were at the start of this licence, even though the percentage rate of return is lower.”

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