The National Lottery is governed by specific legislation, which is enforced by the lottery operator in the UK, Camelot. It is also occasionally enforced by local trading standards authorities.

In summary:

  • It is illegal for a National Lottery ticket to be sold by or to a person under the age of 16 years.
  • The penalty for a breach is an unlimited fine in a Magistrates' Court, or if the case is referred to the Crown Court an unlimited fine and/or imprisonment for up to two years or both.
  • There is no specific defence of taking reasonable precautions and exercising due diligence in this legislation, but that would undoubtedly be taken into account in mitigation.

In practice, this legislation is enforced by Camelot under Operation Child. A test purchase failure will usually result in a warning letter and a further test purchase attempt. A second failure may result in the revocation of the lottery terminal in the retailer. That is often penalty in itself, so there have been relatively few prosecutions before the court.

It is also worth noting that Camelot have acted to remove lottery terminals from retailers that have been convicted of selling other age restricted products to children. This can, for instance, be an indirect consequence of the suspension of an alcohol licence by a local authority for under age sales.