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Remote Gambling Summit

Volume 459: debated on Monday 16 April 2007

During the summit there was widespread agreement to co-operate further in a number of key areas to ensure that gambling remains fair and crime-free and that vulnerable people are protected. On 29 January, we published the summit communiqué. We are now inviting views on the scope and membership of an international working group to consider standards in these key areas, and my Department is in discussion with the industry, regulators and experts in other key sectors, including finance.

The simple truth is that online gambling is just about impossible to police, so does the Minister agree that the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s proposals to increase taxation on gambling in this country will drive more of the industry abroad and make it even harder for the Minister to regulate, which he and I both want.

Irrespective of the taxation issue, that international conference was attended by representatives from 35 jurisdictions, because of the very issues raised by the right hon. Member. It is true that it is not an easy issue, but at the conference, for which we called because of the problems of internet gambling, we agreed that we should have a framework of international regulation and governance that begins to address the three principles that I outlined. Irrespective of where the operation is, and in whatever country, it is important that people sign up to that charter, and that is what we are trying to achieve.