Camelot UK has reported its ‘highest ever’ rates of first-time age verification checks by official National Lottery retails, as it nears its last half-year as operator of the contest.
The company has been organising its ‘Operation 18’ mystery shopper programme, finding that 92% of 11,600 surveyed retailers asked for ID from a young customer – one aged over 18 but with a younger appearance – on their first visit to the outlet.
This was accompanied by the ‘Responsible Retailing’ training initiatives Camelot has been developing throughout the 2022/23 trading year, with its team making 160,000 contacts to retailers via phone calls, face-to-face visits and email.
These conversations revolved around preventing underage play and supporting its ‘Healthy Play’ policies in store. This also saw 4,000 mystery shopper store visits to help outlets identify signs of potential ‘unhealthy play’ among customers.
Camelot’s Retail Director, Alex Green, said: “I’d like to say a huge thank you and congratulations to National Lottery retailers for continuing to prioritise healthy play in retail and selling National Lottery games responsibly.
“Only a year after the age to play changed from 16 to 18, retailers have achieved their best-ever pass rate for our ‘Operation 18’ mystery shopper programme. This incredible result is testament to the hard work that both retailers and the team at Camelot have put in over these past two years.”
Concluding the financial year, Camelot reported that 94% of visited retailers passed a healthy play knowledge check, whilst 88% said that they were satisfied by the firm’s hotline during the fourth quarter.
The ‘Operation 18’ and ‘Healthy Play’ campaigns took on heightened importance for Camelot last year as the minimum playing age for the National Lottery rose from 16 to 18.
“Of course, although integral, age checks form only one branch of our overall player protection strategy in retail,” Green continued.
“We also topped up retailers’ knowledge on underage play and healthy play through our responsible retailing contact programme, and delivered thousands of ‘Healthy Play’ mystery shopper visits – all of which was tested through our special knowledge checks. We couldn’t be happier with the outstanding results.”
Responsible gambling has also been placed at the forefront of the conversation around betting and gaming due to regulatory overhauls over the past two years, in the form of the Gambling Act review and the Fourth National Lottery licence contest.
In the case of the latter – which saw Camelot lose its status as sole operator of the Lottery since 1993 – good cause funding was a key issue, but safer gambling and player/consumer protection were also highlighted.
Following the licence contest, Camelot challenged the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) decision to award the next 10-year licence to multinational firm Allwyn, but this was subsequently dropped after the new licence holder acquired the Watford-based company from its owner, the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan (OTTP).
Having integrated Camelot UK and the Camelot Lottery Systems (Camelot LS) Group into its wider operations this year, Allwyn is now fully set to assume National Lottery management in February 2024, outlining maintenance of player protection measures and good causes funding as core priorities.