3 Apr

Gambling Laws prevent 13yr old from winning McDonald’s treat

Teen refused McFlurry in McDonald's Monopoly promo due to gambling laws

AJ Reeves (13) refused McFlurry in McDonald’s promo due to gambling laws, photo SWNS

Gambling laws vary all over the world. Some places permit gambling in casinos, others don’t. Some regulate online gambling, while others prohibit wagers over the internet. Some jurisdictions are keen on pokies, or horse racing, or table games only.

No matter where you go, on land or over the internet, there’s one thing all regional gambling laws have in common, and that’s age restrictions against minors being allowed to place a bet. But now some are questioning just how far the definition of a ‘bet‘ should go after a UK teen was refused an ice cream treat he’d won from the local McDonald’s.

We’ve all heard of the global restaurant chain’s famous Monopoly Prize Mania game. You buy a burger, drink or other qualifying item from the menu, and it comes with a little pull tab on the packaging. Beneath may be a prize, a game piece for the McDonald’s Monopoly board, or an apologetic message asking you to try again.

No Free Ice Cream For UK Teen

In the case of AJ Reeves, who purchased a Big Mac last Thursday from the McDonald’s in Blackpole, Wicester, UK, it was a voucher for a £1 McFlurry. But when AJ enthusiastically returned to the location to redeem the voucher for his cold, tasty treat, he was refused on the grounds of “gambling laws”.

You see, AJ Reeves is only 13 years old. Staff members at the Blackpole McDonald’s told him he was “too young” to win, claiming that participants must be at least 16 years of age to play and redeem prizes. How is it, then, that McDonald’s promotes the game on pretty much all of its products, aside from Happy Meals?

That’s something 52 year old Kay Reeves, mother of AJ and his three siblings, would like to know. She was outraged by the restaurant’s refusal to honor her 13 year old son’s winning voucher.

“I can completely understand if McDonald’s want only 16-year-olds and over to play,” she complained to the press. “But if that is the case they should not be selling these vouchers to under 16s. It feels like they are tricking kids into buying their meals without letting them claim the prizes.

“Monopoly is a child’s game, it’s clear that’s who they are aiming this at,” she argued.

AJ, who suffers from the social anxieties and inherent stress of Asperger’s, a ‘high-functioning’ form of Autism, was asked how it made him feel when McDonald’s refused to give him a McFlurry, due to gambling laws.

“I felt sad and disappointed,” he said. “I’m not sure whether I will go back.”

Could UK Gambling Laws Change McDonald’s Promo?

The gambling laws in the UK are known to be some of the strictest in the world, and if McDonald’s uses that guise to refuse children prizes on their promotions, it could have great repercussions for the famous Monopoly Prize Mania.

Allowing children to purchase items that contain ‘gambling’ promotions… is that no different than promoting gambling to minors?

Whether they can collect the prize or not, based on the laws they were so quick to point to, McDonald’s should either have to discontinue its decades-old promo, or stop giving out items that contain the promotional material to anyone under the age of 16. Perhaps they’ll start asking the age of each individual coming through the drive-thru?

Then again, is giving out prize vouchers on a food product’s packaging really a form of gambling? That’s the only argument that could save McDonald’s from a lot of trouble, but it could also open a lawsuit from the Reeves family for refusing him the prize. All this for a £1 McFlurry.