The sector came out slightly ahead of the supermarkets in 2006, with a refusal rate of 95.7% compared with the multiples' rate of 94.9%. Forecourts have the most work to do with first refusal rates of 88%.
Overall, refusal rates to test purchasers rose to 94.5% in 2006, up from 92.7% in 2005. Last year, Operation Child saw 10,236 retailers visited by test-purchasers who look under 16 but are in fact older.
A total of 9,681 retailers refused to sell a lottery ticket on their first test visit.
As part of the operation, retailers who fail a test purchase receive a follow-up visit and warning. If they sell again on their final visit their terminal will be withdrawn. When sales are refused, a congratulatory letter is sent to the retailer.
Camelot director of sales Steve Lucas said: "We were very pleased to see this year's Operation Child results were even better than last year's, but this is not a time for complacency. We will work even harder to improve on these results again in the coming months and years and make sure that retailers have the promotional tools they need to make the most of selling the lottery in their stores."