With the Gambling Act 2005 in force in September 2007, advertising of foreign gambling will be acceptable for the first time in Britain provided the gambling happens in a “White List” country. Which countries qualify in the list just published? Nick Johnson names names.
Topic: Betting and gaming
Who: UK Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
When: August 2007
Law stated as at: 28 August 2007
The Gambling Act 2005 (Advertising of Foreign Gambling) Regulations 2007 (SI 2329/2007) were laid before Parliament on 9 August 2007.
The Regulations are due to come into force on 1 September 2007, the date on which the Gambling Act 2005 will also enter into force. They set out the current "white list" of territories that will be treated as though they were within the European Economic Area for the purposes of section 331 of the Act.
Those territories are:
- the Island of Alderney, but only in relation to remote gambling; and
- the Isle of Man, but only in relation to remote gambling and casino gambling.
Gibraltar already has "white-listed" status pursuant to section 331(3) of the Act.
Why this matters:
Under the Gambling Act 2005, it is an offence to advertise foreign gambling in Great Britain or Northern Ireland, except where the gambling takes place in an EEA State, Gibraltar or a territory specifically "white-listed" by the Secretary of State. During the passage of the Gambling Bill, the Government made it clear that countries wishing to make it onto the "white list" would need to demonstrate that they had a regulatory regime that meets the standards in UK legislation and that "fulfils the Government's principles of fair tax competition and transparency".
Alderney and the Isle of Man have made it onto the white list. But, for now at least, jurisdictions such as the Dutch Antilles fall outside.
The position on advertising foreign gambling under the new Act represents a significant deregulation. Previously, advertising for non-UK betting services was generally prohibited under section 9 of the Betting and Gaming Duties Act 1981, and gaming advertising was also subject to significant constraints courtesy of section 42(1)(c) of the Gaming Act 1968.
Media owners can, as from 1 September 2007, legitimately sell advertising space in Great Britain for the purpose of marketing gambling in jurisdictions permitted under section 331.
However, media owners and advertising/media agencies who hope to benefit from this deregulation should take great care to establish that the gambling they are advertising will not take place outside the permitted jurisdictions. Unlike the position with some other offences under the Act, it is not a defence under section 331 if you reasonably believed that the gambling you were advertising was to take place within the EEA or another permitted state.
So media owners and others working with non-UK gambling brands would be wise to put in place processes to verify where gambling being advertised will take place (or in the case of remote gambling, that it will be subject to the law of a permitted territory as required under s.331(2)(b)). Currently permitted territories are as follows: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Gibraltar, Isle of Man (but only for remote gambling and casino gambling, so not for instance for non-remote betting services), Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Island of Alderney (but only for remote gambling).
Note that section 331 and the white list does not apply to the advertising of foreign lotteries. Note also that the position in Northern Ireland as to the advertising of gaming remains for now subject to the relevant provisions in the Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements (Northern Ireland) Order 1985.