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Canada’s National Lottery Uses Mystery Shoppers for Age Compliance Checks

When it comes to age compliance checks and retailers, there’s really no better way to check for proper ID checks than to use mystery shopping. And Canada must be doing something right, because a 2017 age compliance checks campaign showed that 91% of their National Lottery retailers properly asked for ID as proof of age on their first mystery shopper visit.

That’s a 2% improvement from 2016 and a 5% improvement on 2015.

We can’t even get that for alcohol age compliance checks here in the United States.

The lottery operator Camelot has conducted their mystery shopping programme (we spelled it that way because they’re Canadian and they use the British spelling) for more than a decade, and they’re very strict about how they run it.

Basically, if a retailer fails the age compliance checks on three occasions (not in a row; if they fail them ever), their National Lottery ticket selling terminal will be suspended and could be removed entirely. And since retailers get a lot of money from lottery ticket sales, they can’t afford to lose that terminal.

According to a 2015 article on

Retailers earn a 5% commission on every online sale and a 8% commission for every off-line ticket sale. Retailers are also entitled to receive a 2% bonus for any online prize redemption of under $300 and 3% for any offline prize redemption of under $200.

In 2017, Camelot conducted 11,600 visits for age compliance checks as a way to prevent underage and excessive playing of the lottery. Not that underage play is much of a problem, since Canada is also working on a way to increase the number of Millennials — people between the ages of 21 –37, as of 2018 — playing, because fewer of them are playing games of chance.

The U.S. lottery should run age compliance checks to prevent compulsive gambling and underage gambling.Still, addiction to gambling is a serious problem, so Camelot’s concerns are well-founded and respectable.

A basic check shows that we don’t seem to have basic age compliance checks in the United States when it comes to the lottery. A May 2016 story showed Orlando gas stations were selling lottery tickets to underage buyers, as the News 6 WKMG TV station worked with 13- and 14-year-old kids to buy lottery tickets. (Wawa moved their lottery ticket machines so they were more visible to the store employees, in response to the story.)

Lottery retailers — gas station, liquor stores, and even grocery stores — should take a cue from our neighbors to the North and start running age compliance checks on customers to prevent underage buyers and gambling addicts from buying tickets illegally or recklessly.

For more information on running your own age compliance checks, visit the Measure CP website and ask to speak to one of our compliance experts about how to run compliance checks in your own stores.

Photo credit: Daniel Oines (Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0)