The Gambling Act to come into play...

"Dad, what's a Casino? How do you play Poker? What's a "Texas Hold 'Em"?"Can I have my party there - it looks great fun?". These are some questions parents might face, from their partly-enlightened children, once the Gambling Act 2005 (Act) comes into force fully, as from September, 2007, and who may see adverts for gambling on billboards, the TV, press and elsewhere!

We are all used to seeing adverts for UK sports betting companies, especially at the time of major sporting events; the Grand National took place on 14 April, and the Rugby World Cup later this year will certainly be areas where bookmakers once again remind us of how much more exciting it is, [when watching the race/game], if you have money on the outcome.

We are also all used to seeing posters and other adverts for overseas gaming operators; Paradise Poker adverts on the London Underground used to add a touch of excitement to the morning ride to work, and introduced tube commuters to Caprice and her Poker charms.

However, as from September all licensed UK gambling operators, whether they run a 'bricks and mortar' or 'super' casino, or an online gaming operator, plus the high street and online sports bookmakers, will all be able to advertise their wares. Gone will be the strict limits on high street casinos only being able to mention their club name in publicity material; gone will be the restriction on running an online gaming operation in the UK, and the limits on off-shore online gaming operators advertising in the UK; instead, some will welcome, and some, no doubt, will critisise, that these businesses will be able to compete equally with other forms of entertainment, advertising their wares more freely, in newspapers, on TV, on the radio and/or on the web, and using innovative marketing schemes.

The operators all need to be licensed by the Gambling Commission, the new regulator established under the Act, and need to comply with any conditions attached to their licenses. It is expected that compliance with the Advertising Codes, (being updated), will be a condition of retaining such licenses.

Providing a framework

But it will not be a free-for-all with "Tinky Winky Poker", sponsorship/advertising in mid-afternoon [children's/kids] programmes, or suggestions that visiting a casino can turn you in to the James Bond hulk that recently came out of the sea to play poker with Tina Green. No, there will be rules and regulations generally governing such adverts.

The Act gives a...

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