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Date :  31/01/07
Ref   :  017/07

UK Gambling ad ban plans published

Plans to protect online gamblers from crime and exploitation by banning gambling adverts from poorly regulated countries have been published today by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

The move means major online gambling jurisdictions outside Europe will have to apply to the UK if companies based there want to advertise gambling services in the UK.

To get on the “white list”, jurisdictions outside the EEA and Gibraltar will have to demonstrate that their licensing regimes:

• act to protect children and vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited;

• keep out crime;

• ensure that gambling is conducted fairly;

• have measures in place enforce compliance; and

• that gambling operators are subject to rules on money-laundering and financial probity.

The new rules will come into force on 1 September 2007.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said:

“Whether we like it or not, people choose to gamble online. The action we are taking on adverts will help protect online gamblers from crime and exploitation. It will stop companies operating from poorly regulated countries attracting new customers in the UK.

“This is a key part of the Gambling Act, which is designed to strictly regulate gambling and to protect children and vulnerable people. Safe regulation, not prohibition, is the best way to ensure any potential harm is minimized.

“This is a global issue, which is why we have led an international debate on this. Securing international cooperation will lead to sites operating more responsibly and increase protection.”

The ‘white listing’ proposals come as the Government announced it secured international agreement to crack down on rogue online gambling operators.

The agreement, reached following a summit attended by 31 countries in Ascot last October, will see international cooperation on protecting children and vulnerable people, keeping out crime and making sure games are fair.

An international working group will also investigate how Governments can cooperate more closely with the financial sector, share research, develop more effective licensing regimes and promote public awareness of responsible gambling.

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