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UK to Ban Overseas Gambling Websites

14 January 2011 by admin

Jeremy HuntIn a dramatic shift from current law, the United Kingdom government is looking to crack down on gambling websites located overseas that are operating and advertising unlicensed in the UK. Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt is the man behind a push to ban unlicensed online casino activity within the UK, but doing so would push many current operators out of the market.

Under the Gambling Act, which was passed by the Labour Party in 2005, all UK-based gambling companies are subject to strict regulations by the government to ensure that the games are safe and that minors are prevented from playing. There is a loophole, though, that exempts overseas casinos from those regulations while still allowing them to operate and advertise in the UK.

According to Secretary Hunt, of the Conservative Party, allowing the overseas casinos to operate in the UK unregulated is a risk, and it is the reason that some in the country are addicted to gambling. Of course, with that stance, it is obvious that he is buying into the myth of the unregulated online casino. Though there are unsafe online casinos out there – that’s why we have a casino blacklist – it doesn’t take much effort to find a casino that is safe. It is common, however, for governments to only trust companies that they regulate, even if the other companies are regulated by other governments.

Secretary Hunt wants to amend the Gambling Act to only allow gambling websites licensed in the UK to operate and advertise there. The problem with his plan is that doing so would not really stop UK citizens from gambling at overseas websites. In his opinion, banning online casinos and bookmakers from advertising in the UK would keep people off of those websites, but the Internet provides free advertising via search engines and paid advertising via banners and affiliate marketing that the UK government cannot stop.

Secretary Hunt also wants to prohibit the use of credit cards for gambling websites, believing that allowing credit cards to be used for deposits encourages people to accumulate gambling debts. Presumably, Mr. Hunt is not proposing everyone add a slot to their computer for inserting dollar bills, although that would ensure that debt isn’t being used for gambling.

If credit card deposits are banned for UK online casinos, it is likely that Hunt would mandate some sort of pre-paid card be used instead. Another option would be making a direct transfer from the bank, which would ensure that the funds are in the account already.

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