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The Operation 18 visits followed the change in the minimum age of playing the national lottery from 16 to 18, which came into force in April 2021.

The successful checking rate rose to 95% for second visits from a mystery shopper and Camelot thanked its retailers for their overwhelming compliance with the rules.

Guy Goodacre, Camelot’s retail strategy manager, said: “With the age to play change from 16 to 18 in April last year, this has been a critical year for the national lottery – and we can’t thank our retail partners enough for their hard work and dedication.

“From updating all of their in-store POS and reminding customers in the lead-up to the change last year, to showing their ongoing commitment to preventing underage play through these fantastic Operation 18 results – it’s plain to see that our retail partners are totally committed to responsible retailing.

“The new Operation 18 mystery shopping programme uses people who are over 18, but who look younger – this is to avoid retailers inadvertently breaking the law during a test visit.

“If a retailer fails a mystery shopping visit on three occasions, their national lottery terminal will be suspended and is likely to be removed.

“In 2021 to 2022, more than 8,850 test visits were carried out with a 90% first visit pass rate; this rose to 95% for second visits.”

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