Shops suspend sale of scratch cards to protect staff during the coronavirus pandemic – The Sun

SOME retailers have stopped selling scratch cards amid the coronavirus crisis as they don't believe them to be essential items.

When the UK's lockdown began Boris Johnson ruled that only essential retailers could stay open, for example supermarkets and pharmacies.

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But some of these retailers also sell non-essential items that some workers say could be putting them at unnecessary risk.

The Sun have spoken to furious B&Q and Argos workers, for example, who said shoppers were ordering garden furniture and kids toys despite the lockdown.

Newsagent and supermarket workers have also tweeted to say some shoppers are coming in simply to buy a scratch card, and that they even do this multiple times a day despite government guidance to only leave homes once a day.

To combat this, some newsagents have started to limit the redemption or purchase of scratch cards by banning them altogether or saying you can only buy them alongside food items.

The Association of Convenience Stores says it's aware some shops have limited the sale of scratch cards and other over the counter products but stressed it was only anecdotal and it couldn't give figures on numbers.

Teeside Live also reports that a chain of convenience stores in the north east has banned scratch cards from being sold or redeemed unless it's with a food shop – The Sun has contacted the firm in question.

Others on social media report the same. One person tweeted: "We have stopped selling scratch cards as a company yet we are continuing to sell lottery tickets??? Another non-essential item.

"Stood here and it’s sorry you can’t have a scratch card but you can have a lottery ticket?? #shutitdown"

Another wrote: "So my partner got refused a scratch card at the shop earlier as it is non-essential yet he managed to buy four bottles of Moretti and a bottle of Prosecco."

Someone else said: "@TNLUK Hi, in this awful time we are having most shops now are stopping lottery and scratch card sales as they are not classed as 'essentials'.

"I want to know [what happens], if you've kept the same numbers for years and those numbers come out whilst you can't buy a ticket?…"

Another person said they'd been refused a scratch card at Tesco, although the supermarket told The Sun shoppers can continue to buy them as standalone purchases as normal.

The person tweeted: "@Tesco just been refused to buy a scratch card. Have you stopped selling them at the moment or what? I’m bloody livid."

The Association of Convenience stores says its advice is retailers can still provide a full range of products.


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Camelot, the company behind UK scratch cards and the National Lottery, adds that it respects the decision retailers make about selling its products.

But points out that it donates a lot of money from ticket sales to charitable causes.

It adds that it's encouraging people to play on the National Lottery website or app instead, and to check these for the winning numbers.

Here, winnings of up to and including £500 will be paid into your National Lottery account, while prizes above this can be paid into your bank account.

For those with physical tickets to redeem, you can do this by post although Camelot says there is a delay on this service at the moment and it instead encourages people to hold onto their winnings.

Lottery winners have 180 days to claim, while it's 180 days from the closure of individual scratch card games.

A Camelot spokesperson said: "We are encouraging as many players as possible to check their tickets and play online or on the National Lottery app.

"The majority of our current advertising carries messaging to this effect – and to only buy tickets and Scratchcards in retail if they are already in-store to do an essential shop."

The Sun has asked Asda, Morrisons, and Sainsbury's if they're continuing to sell scratch cards and we'll update this story as soon as we get a response.

Visit Be Gamble Aware for free advice and support if you're worried about yours or someone else's gambling.

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