Two of the National Lottery’s flagship ‘instant win’ games have been removed by outgoing operator Camelot UK.
The Daily Mirror. reported this morning that Camelot has withdrawn the Monopoly and Scrabble games down from its website, citing rule changes by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP).
In April, the UK’s advertising regulator brought in new rules for betting and gaming advertising, with the most notable update being prevention of popular sports stars appearing in promotional material.
This, combined with the lottery’s decision last year to increase the age limit for purchasing and playing its products to 18 in line with requirements for sports betting and casinos, has prompted Camelot to make the latest round of changes.
“You must be over the age of 18 to register for a National Lottery online account – so no one under the age of 18 can play online Instant Win Games (IWGs) – and it’s widely recognised that the inherent risk of problem play associated with National Lottery products is very low,” a Camelot statement read.
“However, as a responsible operator, we’ve been reviewing our advertising over a number of months in line with the new CAP Code rules, which we knew were coming into force.”
As part of the changes, Camelot has removed or ‘not extended the licensing for’ instant win titles such as Monopoly and Scrabble, whilst also modifying the artwork on its £300,000 Fruity Bingo and Winter Wonderlines – namely removing ‘some of the symbols’ and images of fruit.
The removal of said products and artwork is a result of a desire to limit the appeal of the games to under-18s, an objective outlined by CAP’s gambling rules update.
As well as prohibiting the use of sports stars and other media personalities – such as influencers, YouTubers, TikTokers etc – CAP also limited the use of ‘video game imagery and other content of strong appeal to under-18s’.
“By ending these practices, our new rules invite a new era for gambling ads, more particular to the adult audience they can target and more befitting of the age-restricted product they’re promoting,” Shahriar Coupal, CAP Director, commented in April.
Camelot’s changes to its instant win offering could well represent one of its last major administrative decisions as operator of the National Lottery, before the planned handover to new steward Allwyn UK.
The European lotteries conglomerate is set to become the next 10 year steward of the National Lottery, having been awarded the licence after a lengthy contest overseen by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) – which ended Camelot’s 28 year tenure of Camelot, which had been the sole operator of the lottery since 1994.
Instant win games were an area of contention throughout the licence contest, with a cross-party group of MPs from both the Conservative and Labour parties criticising Camelot for shifting away from traditional lottery to an app-based model.
In particular, the MPs were concerned about the impact an increase in revenue from instant win games such as scratchards and online products has had on Good Causes funding – one of the primary public goals of the lottery.
Legislators asserted that 9% of revenue from instant win games went towards community causes according to 2020/21 trading figures, as opposed to 31% of revenue from traditional draw-based game sales.
Camelot refuted the MPs accusations at the time, saying: “By giving people a choice of safe and enjoyable games that they want to play, by making those games attractive and generous to players, and by enabling people to play in ways that suit them best, we’re generating record monetary returns to good causes from ticket sales, record prize money to players and record payments in lottery duty to the Treasury – all in a responsible way.”
Moving forward, the transition period for Allwyn’s takeover of the National Lottery from Camelot is due to commence in February, with Robert Chvatal, CEO of the Czech group, stating that his firm aims to ‘re-energise and reinvigorate’ the lottery for all British audiences raising money for good causes.