Online casinos warned over illegal advertising

The Gaming Board of Great Britain (GBGB) has warned advertisers and Web operators that many ads for online casinos could be illegal.

Although a new gambling act was passed before the General Election, it is not expected to come into force until next year. This means online gaming operators are still governed by the 1968 act, which sets down strict limits on how casinos based overseas can market themselves.

The GBGB is concerned that the ads for some gaming operations breach the terms of the act, and has urged advertisers to take care. Tom Kavanagh of the GBGB says that under the existing legislation, overseas casinos are only permitted to tell people of their existence. “They can give the website address, but they cannot encourage people to bet,” he says.

He adds that some advertisements appearing on billboards are “sailing close to the wind” with information about the size of pots available and the number of winners.

However, he also says that a lack of existing case law and the forthcoming law change would make a prosecution unlikely.

Tim Rosenberg of agrees that some operators have taken advantage of online gaming’s high profile to exploit “grey areas” in the laws, developed long before the Web was invented.

He adds that even though is a portal and does not offer gaming services itself, his company is taking legal advice over its own advertising.

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