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Gambling: Internet

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 9 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport which countries (a) Ministers and (b) officials from his Department have met to discuss online gaming; and on what dates these meetings took place. (155763)

Ministers and officials from DCMS regularly meet their counterparts from other countries to discuss gambling issues, including online gaming. Ministers and officials met representatives from 31 other jurisdictions which attended an International Summit on Remote Gambling at Ascot Racecourse on 31 October 2006.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions his Department has had with representatives from the EU on internet gambling regulations. (155764)

Officials from my Department keep closely in touch with officials from other Departments, such as the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, and officials in the European Commission on developments affecting remote gambling. Officials from DCMS and the Gambling Commission are also represented on the Gaming Regulators European Forum (GREF) which includes representatives from most European Union member states.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans there are to introduce EU regulations for online gambling. (156017)

I am not aware of any plans by the European Commission to introduce regulations in respect of online gambling.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what criteria are applied in respect of the minimum age at which people are permitted to gamble using an online company when decisions are made about whether that company may advertise on British television. (156018)

The Government are not responsible for decisions about which individual companies may or may not advertise on British television. The only gambling operators that are permitted to advertise on television are those licensed by the Gambling Commission in Great Britain or licensed in the European Economic Area (EEA) or licensed in a jurisdiction that the Government has decided to treat as if it were in the EEA for the purposes of gambling advertising—this is known as ‘white listing.’

All gambling operators licensed in Great Britain are subject to the Gambling Act 2005 which makes it an offence for operators to offer online gambling to children and young people under the age of 18. It is also an offence under the Act for a young person to gamble online. In addition, the Government have set strict criteria for ‘white listed’ jurisdictions about the protection of children and vulnerable people. All jurisdictions currently on the ‘white list’ have a minimum age for gambling of 18.

It is also an offence under the Gambling Act 2005 if a person brings to the attention of a child or young person information about gambling with a view to encouraging the child or young person to gamble. The Gambling Commission has powers under the Gambling Act to prosecute any person in respect of this offence.

The Advertising Standards Authority's (ASA) new codes of practice for gambling advertisers put in place strict controls to prohibit gambling advertising during or around children's programmes or programmes commissioned for, principally directed at or likely to appeal particularly to audiences below the age of 18. The gambling industry has agreed to abide by a voluntary ban on television gambling advertising before 9pm (with the exception of sports betting advertising during sports programmes).