Casino Advertising Crackdown

UK government ministers are currently reviewing laws regarding online casino advertising. Complaints against the online gambling industry have been led by Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell, plans are being drawn to stop online casinos advertising free entry into online tournaments or indicating value of prizes. Existing gambling laws allow casinos to promote brand advertising but prevent them from offering consumers incentives to gamble. Ms Jowell said adverts in newspapers, on London Underground platforms and on taxis had flouted these regulations.

Online Casinos are exempt from UK laws since the majority of operators are based offshore. However Ms Jowell plans to target the advertisers and publishers in the UK who work with, strongly stating ‘It’s clear that some adverts are breaking the law. I am not willing to turn a blind eye to this and have agreed with the Gambling Commission that we should crack down on advertisers and publishers who knowingly break the law”.

City analysts believe that government action comes at a sensitive time for the online casinos industry, with worries over future growth and development in the industry putting off investors. Nevertheless casino operators PartyGaming welcomed any action by the government that punished companies that broke the law.

PartyGaming’s director of corporate communications John Shepard stated “We are fully compliant with the law, and we are very strict about it. Our legal team and staff are well trained- we have never had any of our adverts stopped. We are fully supportive of these measures”.  

Prosecution for advertisers or publishers found guilty of breaking the law could result in fines of £5,000 or two years in prison. The Department of Culture Media & Sport said it planned to send letters to advertisers and publishers warning them the government would no longer stand for advertisements for internet casinos that offered inducement. A DCMS spokesman "We are trying to protect vulnerable people from being induced to gamble."

Editor, - 2005-11-11 15:37:30

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