The Government is considering clamping down on online casinos’ advertising on the London Underground in response to concerns about the increase in gambling addictions caused by the internet.
Fresh restrictions on advertising have been expected by the industry following last year’s Gambling Act. The latest suggestion from the Government came in a debate on internet gambling in the House of Lords last week.
“We could limit advertising on the London Underground, for instance, by internet companies based in Britain,” said Lord Davies of Oldham, deputy chief whip in the Lords. “We have other means of regulating companies based in Europe. If they are not based in Europe, we want to operate advertising restrictions, and we are looking at ways to implement them.”
However, Labour peer Lord McIntosh of Haringey, who is also president of problem gambling charity GamCare, questioned whether the alleged increase in addictions is as large as was being claimed. It could, he suggested, be due to increased awareness of the issue and the more prominent role being taken by charities such as GamCare.
The Government faces a challenge in trying to regulate advertising by the large online casino and poker groups as many of the sites, such as Party Gaming and 888.com, are based in Gibraltar and other offshore locations, and so out of its jurisdiction.
The Department of Culture Media and Sport is planning to bring together other governments from around the world to discuss the issues around online gambling at an international summit in October.