Mystery shoppers target NI for National Lottery

The National Lottery warns that retailers stand to lose lottery terminals if they fail to ask for identification during mystery shopper tests.

Internationally recognised for selling lottery tickets responsibly, Camelot – the management company behind The National Lottery – is cracking down on retailers who are selling lottery tickets and scratch cards to the under 16’s.

To ensure retailers have the correct safe guards in place to protect underage sales Camelot is completing 11,600 mystery shopper visits every year under the Operation Child programme.

Over a five year period every postcode in the UK will be covered including all of Northern Ireland. Both independent retailers and multiples can expect a visit at any time.

An outside agency will be carrying out the visits on the National Lottery’s behalf so the UK’s largest lottery doesn’t know when or where they will take place.

Mystery shoppers will be over 16 years of age to prevent retailers committing a crime, but will look young enough to be questioned.

The agency representative and the young person will enter the store and. the young person will ask to purchase a national lottery ticket. At this point the sales assistant will be expected to ask the young person for proof of age.

Once the transaction is complete, the agency representative will either tell the retailer they have passed the visit or if ID has not been correctly requested they fail the test.

If a retailer does not correctly ask for ID they will receive up to two more visits. Store managers will then get a letter to confirm the passed or failed visit within five working days.

If they do not ask correctly, on their third visit their terminal will be suspended while they face investigation and the possible loss of the terminal.

It is illegal to sell National Lottery Products to anyone under the age of 16 and trading standards are also carrying out their own visits with the consequences being a fine or even prison.

The National Lottery’s tips

Always engage with engage with customers and actually look at the customer to access their age.

Make sure everyone is trained to request proof of age

Ensure your younger staff feel supported in challenging customers for ID


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