Govt plans overhaul of laws surrounding gambling promotion

The Government is to sweep away restrictions on advertising gambling in Britain in an attempt to boost the industry's revenue by £2.5 billion over five years.

Proposals expected to be published later this month will allow major campaigns, including the promotion of casinos, betting and bingo.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport will try to allay fears among MPs that the deregulation moves will lure children into gambling. It said a new Gambling Commission will work with the advertising and gambling industries to draw up codes of practice to ensure that young people will not be targeted.

The Government will also place "greater emphasis" on education and awareness programmes to prevent children and vulnerable adults from being exploited.

Ministers claim their consultation exercise on their draft Gambling Bill found widespread support for relaxing the "confusing array" of legal curbs on advertising.

The Bill is being examined by a joint committee of MPs and peers in the current Parliamentary session and is likely to become law next year.

The department said: "We are determined to ensure that the British gambling industry retains, and indeed enhances, its reputation for integrity and quality and that any adverse social consequences are identified and addressed at an early stage."

The Bill will allow licensed gambling online, through interactive television and mobile phones, remove barriers to new companies entering the market and relax controls over the use of credit cards - although they will not be able to be used on gaming machines. Minimum age limits will be retained and enforced more rigorously.