Camelot lauds National Lottery retailers over ‘Operation 18’ results

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Camelot has congratulated its National Lottery retail partners for “demonstrating their ongoing commitment to responsibility”, following numerous ‘Operation 18’ visits to stores.

The new ‘Operation 18’ mystery shopping programme replaces the previous ‘Operation Child’ visits to reflect the change to the minimum age required to play the National Lottery. 

Players must now be 18 years of age, rather than 16, following the change in law which came into force in April 2021.

According to Camelot’s final 2021/22 results, 90% of retailers visited correctly asked for ID as proof of age on their first ‘Operation 18’, while that figure rose to 95% for second visits.

Guy Goodacre, Retail Strategy Manager at Camelot, commented: “With the age to play change from 16 to 18 in April last year, this has been a critical year for the National Lottery – and we can’t thank our retail partners enough for their hard work and dedication every step of the way.

“From updating all of their in-store POS and reminding customers in the lead-up to the change last year, to showing their ongoing commitment to preventing underage play through these fantastic ‘Operation 18’ results – it’s plain to see that our retail partners are totally committed to responsible retailing.”

Meanwhile, interim findings from a recent player survey on the effectiveness of a new National Lottery terminal feature in retail have been released.

The feature allows retailers to print and discreetly offer healthy play handouts to players by pressing the ‘responsible play’ button on their own terminal. The button allows retailers to subtly print a pink ticket, showing details of where support is available, such as through GamCare and the National Lottery’s healthy play webpage.

The initial survey results show that 72% of players who received the handout felt ‘positive’ about it, and that two in five players are ‘going to think about their play’ after seeing the handout.

“It’s also fantastic to see the overwhelmingly positive player response to the healthy play terminal handouts,” added Goodacre.

“We’ve designed the handouts to be discreet but also highly informative, and this is clear evidence that, if a retailer is worried about a customer’s playing patterns, they should feel confident about printing one out for a customer and handing it to them with their purchases.”

Retailers who fail an ‘Operation 18’ visit on three occasions will have their National Lottery terminal suspended and, likely, removed.

In 2021/22, over 8,850 test visits were carried out. The ‘responsible play’ lottery terminal button was launched at the end of 2019 and, since then, has been used on more than 1.7m occasions.