|The British government has unveiled plans to regulate Internet gambling at an international summit held at Ascot racecourse, and commented that the recent Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in the US threatened to drive the industry underground.|
Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell explained that Britain opposed the US ban, due to the risk of driving the industry into criminal hands. 'We do not support the approach the United States has taken. The enormous risk of prohibition is that it forces the industry underground,' she said, likening the move to the US ban on alcohol sales in the 1920s.
The United States declined to attend the summit, which agreed a draft framework of regulation to protect consumers and prevent underage gambling and gambling addiction. The US effectively banned online gaming at the end of September in a move that wiped billions of pounds off the share prices of major Internet gaming companies.
Following the summit, sports minister Richard Caborn claimed to be happy with the significant progress made, and wanted to involve wider international institutions, including UNESCO and the global financial sector.
'We now have in place a road map that will lead to better regulated remote gambling across the world,' he said. 'Those present today agreed to cooperate further in a number of key areas to ensure that gambling remains fair, crime-free and vulnerable people are protected.'