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'Not good enough': Lotto regulator critical of results of first-ever under-18 mystery shop study

The research was the first of its kind in Ireland, and surveyed 510 locations across the country.

Image: Shutterstock/tviolet

THE LOTTO REGULATOR has criticised the retail sector’s attempts to stop under 18s from buying Lotto products following the results of a new mystery shop survey.

The Office of the Regulator of the National Lottery has published a new report showing findings of research into rules governing the sale of Lotto products to under 18s.

The research – the first of its kind in Ireland – was carried out across 510 retail premises selling Lotto products across the country, including convenience stores, supermarkets, garages, and post offices.

The regulator asked test purchasers aged between 15 and 17 to buy a €1 scratch card, while an adult also assessed the display of mandatory ‘Over 18′ signs.

If questioned about their age, the underage test purchaser gave their true age, and if they were asked for photo ID, they were told to say that they were not carrying ID.

In 38% of cases, the underage buyer was not refused a sale, while only 37% of buyers were not asked to produce a photo ID when they requested to buy a scratch card.

Meanwhile, signs not on display in over a quarter of shops, with the survey finding just 73% of retail premises showed them.

Commenting on the survey, Regulator of the National Lottery Ireland, Carol Boate said that current levels of compliance with the law among retailers were “not good enough”.

“I commissioned this research at a time when the retail network had expanded and Premier Lotteries Ireland were developing an enhanced retail monitoring system,” she said.

“The Office of the Regulator will continue to monitor compliance and these findings published today provide a valuable baseline from which the Office of the Regulator can assess the effectiveness of PLI’s actions.”

In a statement, a spokesman for the National Lottery acknowledged the findings of the survey and said it was committed to undertaking further work to prevent the sale of its products to under 18s.

A number of measures have also been put in place since the survey was carried out, including the appointment of a retail compliance manager and branding on tills with age control messaging.

The spokesman added that the National Lottery will meet with the regulator again to examine further opportunities to enhance its controls.

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