I write in response to Sean Roberts’ letter, “Scratchcard menace anything but phantom” (MW May 19).
Camelot has a duty to maximise returns to good causes in a socially responsible way – and it is a duty we take very seriously. It is simply not in
our interests for either Camelot or its network of over 26,000 retailers to sell to people who are aged under 16, and we have a series of rigorous checks and balances in place to guard against underage play.
The Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith scratchcard TV spot clearly features the caption: “Players must be 16 or over. Games rules and procedures apply”, which also features on National Lottery point-of-purchase material.
In line with our wider policy of not marketing to those under the age of 18, National Lottery advertising is deliberately scheduled to run at times when under-18s are less likely to be watching.
The scratchcard passed Camelot’s own Game Design Protocol which is designed to test whether a game is likely to pose a risk to vulnerable groups.
To guard further against underage play, Camelot runs its own “Operation Child” programme. This pioneering initiative is based on training, awareness and education for retailers and their staff, to ensure that they put in place all reasonable safeguards to prevent sales to under-16s. The scheme also involves monitoring and sanctions. As part of this exercise Camelot conducts over 10,000 “test purchase” visits every year; and if a retailer sells a ticket to a test purchaser on three separate occasions we reserve the right to remove their terminal and revoke their licence to sell lottery tickets.
Finally, I would point out that Star Wars has been around for over 25 years (I’m a bit of a fan myself) and it is the nostalgic appeal of the game that we are seeking to tap into.