Gambling adverts banned from websites

Britain's government dealt a blow to around a thousand gambling websites on Thursday after it banned them from advertising in the UK from September.

The government ruled that despite the firms having been granted licenses to run Internet poker and casino Web sites, the offshore countries they were based in did not have stringent enough regulations.

From September any online firm based in gaming hotspots such as Costa Rica, the Netherlands Antilles and Belize will not be able to market in the UK, which will prevent well-known sites including Betfred Casino and from advertising online, on TV and in papers and magazines.

"I make no apology for banning adverts for websites operating from places that don't meet our strict standards," said Culture Media and Sport minister James Purnell.

Firms based in low-tax locations such as the Isle of Man and Alderney will be allowed to continue advertising, while countries within the European Economic Area such as Gibraltar, where and PartyGaming are based, are also not affected.

The government said it was still considering whether to give permission to firms based in Antigua and the native Indian-owned Kahnawake reserve in Canada, which keeps online giants like Antigua-based Bodog on hold.

Last year Britain voiced sympathy for Antigua in its legal battle with the United States after the U.S. effectively banned online gaming in October.

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