MINISTERS plan to ban the sale of scratch cards to 16 and 17 year-olds, it emerged tonight.
Sports Minister Mims Davies said the Government had to “step in” and be “very clear that gambling starts at 18”.
Getty – Contributor Ministers plan to ban the sale of scratch cards to youngsters
She also hinted at a crackdown on betting and booze brands being able to sponsor football strips.
It comes amid fears teens are being bombarded by gambling ads and frittering away cash they do not have.
Speaking to The House magazine, Ms Davies said she wants to act “soon” to crack down on betting by 16 and 17 year-olds.
She said: “There are other areas where I would like to see some things sorted out – that’s around buying scratch cards at lotteries, 16 and 17-year-olds.
“I would like to act there. I’d be hopeful to do that soon. We need to be very clear that gambling starts at 18.”
Ms Davies denied she is trying to stop people having fun.
She said: “We are very clear that where people are connected to their communities and they want to support causes in appropriate ways – it’s not to stop people from having fun, but it’s also to protect those most vulnerable people.
We need to be very clear that gambling starts at 18Mims Davies, Sports Minister
“That’s where the Government needs to step in.”
Britain’s biggest betting firms have already signed up to a voluntary ban on advertising during live matches – the so-called “whistle to whistle” ban.
But she suggested ministers are looking at forcing betting and booze firms to cut ties with sports clubs.
Talking about banning gambling firms sponsoring clubs, she said: “You can’t advertise with children’s shirts – rightly so.”
And she warned that while they have carried out a gambling review “it doesn’t mean that we’ve stopped”.
Formula 1 banned fag brands from sponsoring teams over a decade ago – even though they were one of the sport’s biggest backers.
And Ms Davies hinted that gambling firms could be slapped with a similar crackdown.
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She added: “Sport needs to recognise what’s a healthy relationship between the type of sponsors that they’ve got.
“This is a matter for the football authorities as well. This is a matter for the Gambling Commission where they’re concerned about children.
“If there is evidence, then the Government’s made no bones that we will act. I will be at the forefront of that.
Press Association Images Minister Mims Davies hinted at a crackdown on betting and booze brands being able to sponsor football strips
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