Changes Coming for U.K. Online Gambling Advertising

19 January 2011

It was 2005 when the UK relaxed it laws towards online gambling. The Gambling Act of 2005 laid out new set of rules for gambling in the UK both on and offline. This Act also set the rules for who may get a license to operate online gambling within the country and how they could advertise.

Though the law didn’t give much resistance to who could get a license it did state that nobody may advertise foreign gambling other than a lottery in the U.K. but went on to add a “white list” to those that are licensed in a separate country so they could advertise in the U.K. and this is where some are having an issue.

Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media, and Sport wants to take a look at how the U.K. can start reigning in those foreign advertisers. According to an article in the Daily Mail, Ministers have started to express concern of the welfare of what they say are “vulnerable sections” of the population and want to protect the public from gambling companies that do not meet U.K. standards.

Currently members of the European Economic Area (30 members) and those countries on the “white list” (Gibraltar, Antigua, Alderney, the Isle of Man, and Tasmania) are allowed to advertise in the U.K. and those are the ones that Hunt wants to regulate. He wants all companies that offer services to the people of the U.K. to be licensed by the U.K and subject to their laws.

Also a concern for Hunt is credit cards. He is also looking at banning the use of credit cards as a deposit method for online gambling sites. His concern is that people are gambling with money they do not have and not realizing that they have to pay that money back to the credit card company as well as any interest accrued.

Right now the U.K. is the only country that allows foreign operators to advertise in their country which means they are relying on other countries licensing practices to protect U.K. players. What Hunt wants to do is require these operators to also have a Gambling Commission license issued by the U.K. This would be no different that what other European countries like France are doing.

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