Would-be advertisers will have to register and apply to UK authorities
Wednesday 31st January 2007
Online gambling and poker companies based outside Europe and Gibraltar will have to apply to the government if they want to advertise their products in the UK when the activity is legalised on September 1.
Tessa Jowell, British Culture Secretary said a ban on websites run by companies with poor regulation would protect online gamblers from crime and exploitation.
The announcement was made as the government-appointed Casino Advisory Panel prepares to announce today its recommendation for the siting of the UK's first super-casino.
Ms Jowell is to lay out the timetable and procedure for the government to respond to the recommendation, leading to a vote of MPs.
The legalisation of online gambling and deregulation of casinos are part of a series of measures voted through under the 2005 Gambling Act that updates gambling laws. The Gambling Act relaxes advertising rules for UK bookmakers and casino operators, but gaming websites based outside the European Economic Area and Gibraltar and wishing to advertise will have to prove their licensing regimes protect children, deter crime and ensure gambling is fair.
Ms Jowell is also pressing online gambling companies to help fund counselling for addicts.
Now Ms Jowell has instructed officials to set in motion procedures that would force companies to contribute a levy to the Responsibility in Gambling Trust to help problem gamblers.
John Greenway, Conservative MP and chairman of the Trust, said, 'The main problem is that we are dependent on people making a voluntary contribution. There is some concern (from online gambling companies) about the costs of implementing the Gambling Act.'