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Gambling: Internet

Volume 472: debated on Tuesday 4 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what arrangements there are to prevent children under the age of 18 years using internet gambling sites; and if he will bring forward proposals for users to prove their age before accessing those sites. (190515)

Operators of internet gambling sites which are licensed by the Gambling Commission must comply with tough social responsibility measures to prevent underage gambling. These measures include procedures requiring customers to affirm they are of legal age, warning customers that underage gambling is an offence and requiring gambling websites to permit filtering software so that parents can restrict access to those sites.

All remote operators are required to complete age verification checks for customers that register to gamble using a debit card or other means of electronic payment other than a credit card, which are not generally available to under 18s. In addition, customers are not permitted to withdraw winnings until satisfactory age verification checks have been completed.

For credit card users, there are separate provisions which require operators to carry out a programme of random checks to ensure compliance with age restrictions.

If operators fail to comply with these requirements they are subject to regulatory action from the Gambling Commission.

For websites in other jurisdictions that are not licensed by the Gambling Commission, operators will be subject to the age verification measures required by the relevant jurisdiction.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many internet gambling companies are registered in the UK. (190516)

The Gambling Commission has issued (as of 1 February) a total of 144 remote operating licences allowing companies to operate on-line gambling sites from Great Britain.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what European legislation governs provision of internet gambling services based in one member state to people in another member state. (190517)

The EC Treaty applies to the provision of internet gambling services between member states. There is no secondary EU legislation in this area as the directive on electronic commerce (2000/31/EC) and the directive on services in the internal market (2006/123/EC) both exclude gambling activities.