The government of the U.K. has announced that around a thousand gambling websites will be banned from advertising beginning in September.
The companies in question have licenses to operate internet poker and casino sites, but the ruling comes because they operate in countries lacking adequate industry regulation. Companies operating in Costa Rica, the Netherlands Antilles and Belize will be subject to the ban, which covers television, print and online advertising. Online gambling companies in low-tax locations like the Isle of Man and Alderney, as well as those located within the European Economic Area, will not be affected.
U.K. Culture, Media and Sports Minister James Purnell said, “I make no apology for banning adverts from websites operating from places that don’t meet our strict standards.” The government has yet to decide if it will grant permission to advertise to companies in other areas, including Antigua and the Kahnawake reserve in Canada.
Online gambling is illegal in the United States, which has taken aggressive steps to deter the activity, but is legal and regulated in many other nations around the world, including most of the European Union. Despite its international audience, Second Life was recently forced to halt all gambling activity within its virtual world as a result of U.S. law, and Antigua-based Bodog has come into legal difficulties in the U.S. as well over its refusal to halt service to American customers.