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Gambling and You

Legal Ages

As a general rule, the minimum legal age for gambling in the UK is 18 years old. This applies to adult gaming centres, betting shops, bingo halls, casinos, racetracks and online gambling. The exceptions to this are the National Lottery and scratchcards – you’re allowed to take part in these from the age of 16.

However, some gaming machines, such as coin pushers, teddy grabbers and some lower stakes fruit machines in family entertainment centres and amusement arcades don’t have a minimum legal age at all. These might not seem risky because usually you'll only lose between 2p and £1 in a single game, but very few of us ever stop at one. It’s incredibly easy to keep popping pound coins into change machines, then dropping the change into these games. Before you know it you’ve spend twenty pounds on a keyring or cheap toy car. Is it really worth it?

Any venue that provides gambling activities with a minimum legal age must stick to rules designed to prevent underage gambling.

What do young people gamble on?

Young people take part in all forms of gambling. The most common types for young people between 11 and 16 are the lottery, scratchcards and slot machines, and making bets or playing cards with friends, with either cash or other items at stake.

Find out more about different types of gambling.

Next: Myths and Facts