Monday, 15 July 2019

National Lottery Sells Scratchcards Even After Top Prizes Are Won


Reports have revealed that the National Lottery is allowed to continue selling scratchcards even though the top prizes have already been won.

A report by The Guardian revealed that the National Lottery is allowed to continue selling scratchcards even when all advertised jackpots have been won. For example, you can buy a National Lottery Millionaire 7s scratchcard game for £5 to try and win one of the game’s six top prizes. When you buy it, however, the prizes are more likely to have already been won.

Back in February, the National Lottery continued to sell its Cash Vault scratchcard for £3 and advertised four top prizes of £275,000, though only one was left to be won. Meanwhile, another scratchcard advertised 15 top prizes of £250,000 but it was reported that 14 of them had already been won.

In a statement to The Guardian, the National Lottery stated that the number of prizes available in each category is reduced. They said: “Once the last top prize has been validated, retailers will be allowed to continue selling those scratchcards that have already been activated for sale, and any unactivated scratchcard stock will be withdrawn.”

Regarding the firm’s Millionaire 7s scratchcard, the National Lottery explained that once the top prizes have been won, no new packs of the scratchcards can be put on sale, only scratchcards that have already been put on display can be sold to customers.

An Investigation

A second report discovered similar findings. LatestDeals, an online site that compiles a selection of deals, launched an investigation into the National Lottery and discovered there’s a slim to no chance of customers winning the top prizes.

According to LatestDeals, the National Lottery’s £4 million Blue Game, which costs £10 per ticket, had printed 12,103,725 scratchcards with three top prizes back in December 2018. However, researchers found that only one winning card remained in circulation at the time which meant that the chances of winning were almost zero.

In addition, researchers discovered that the National Lottery had printed 15,995,000 cards for their £1 Million Monopoly Classic game with four advertised top prizes. Despite all the prizes having already been won, customers were still allowed to buy the scratchcards.


A spokesperson for Camelot, the firm that runs the National Lottery, issued a statement to iNews saying: “We adhere to a strict code of practice as approved by our regulator, the Gambling Commission, which sets out, among other things, the process we follow when the last top prize on a scratchcard game has been claimed.

“For scratchcards with a top prize of £121,000 or more, only those scratchcards that were already activated for sale and displayed in the dispenser at the time at which the last top prize is claimed can continue to be sold. No new packs of scratchcards can be put on sale after this point and all unactivated stock will be withdrawn.”

The spokesperson added: “It’s also important to note that all National Lottery Scratchcards have a wide range of different prizes available to be won on them, so even when there are no top prizes or only one top prize remaining, there are still loads of other fantastic prizes available to be won.”

Gambling: Scratchcards & Casinos

The National Lottery also allows minors over 16 to purchase scratchcards. This, along with loot boxes in video games, are thought to have contributed to the rising number of child gamblers. In fact, the UK Gambling Commission revealed last year that around 55,000 children between 11 and 16 were addicted to betting and around 450,000 children gambled regularly.

To combat this, the UK Government revealed earlier this month that it will be considering introducing a ban to prohibit under-18s from purchasing National Lottery scratchcards. According to The Daily Mail, the ban could come into force in 2023 at the start of the next National Lottery license. Despite this, children aged 16 and over will still be allowed to participate in draw-based games.

While the online casino industry has repeatedly faced scrutiny from opponents for offering slim chances to win large jackpots, most punters who choose to participate already know this, unlike the National Lottery’s scratchcards. Most customers are actually unaware that the top scratchcard prizes have been won and while they can still win other rewards, the main purpose of their purchase was for a jackpot.

Lastly, online casinos face strict regulations and require all users to be over the age of 18, and newly registered users must immediately provide identification to be able to gamble. The rules regarding scratchcard gambling are much relaxed and irresponsible compared to this but online gambling, which is more tightly regulated, is repeatedly attacked. The National Lottery, meanwhile, is continually allowed to sell defunct scratchcards and customers are failing to notice.