HC Deb 20 November 1995 vol 267 cc326-7
9. Mr. Heppell

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage when she next plans to meet representatives of Camelot to discuss problems arising from scratchcards. [489]

Mr. Sproat

I have no current plans to meet Camelot. The director general has licensed it to run the national lottery and he regulates its operations.

Mr. Heppell

I hope that the Minister is aware that a quarter of children under 16 are purchasing scratchcards and that the Secretary of State is on record as saying that she supports such gambling. What is the difference between gambling on scratchcards and on horses, dogs or the football pools?

Mr. Sproat

I make two responses to the hon. Gentleman's question, which I take as a very serious one. First, the House has regarded the lottery as the softer end of gambling and not the same as betting on dogs or horses or in casinos. Secondly, I agree that it is worrying if under-age children are playing scratchcards. I saw the figures that Mr. Peter Davis of Oflot is considering to decide whether further action needs to taken. Three retailers have been reported for selling to under-age children. One has lost its agency; the other two have been warned by trading standards.