Concerns National Lottery Scratch Cards Increase Problem Gambling
British MPs and campaigners are calling for the country’s National Lottery to be overhauled amid rising concerns that its scratch cards and only games are causing an increase in problem gambling.
They have also raised concerns that the amount of money from National Lottery revenues being donated to good causes is in decline. The latest concerns come in the middle of the competition to operate the National Lottery from 2024, with the winner of the license due to be announced within the next couple of months.
Speaking recently, 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.”
It was reported by the Guardian that scratch cards sold in shops and instant games online now make up 44% of all lottery revenues. However, just 9% of income from scratch cards and 12% from instant win games goes to good causes, compared to 31% of the income from draw-based games.
There are also concerns that scratch cards and online instant win games are more likely to be linked to problem gambling than the traditional weekly lottery 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. 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 license, even though the percentage rate of return is lower.