Companies Move to Avoid UK Ad Ban

13 August 2007

Several companies have announced plans to move their online gambling operations to jurisdictions within so-called "white-listed" territories before the implementation of the U.K. gambling ad ban.

William Hill, Betfred, Intercasino and Littlewoods Casino are all currently licensed in the Netherlands Antilles, which did not make the U.K. government's list of territories permitted to advertise gambling products in the United Kingdom, in accordance with the Gambling Act 2005.

The white list, released on Thursday, included only two jurisdictions outside of the European Economic Area (EEA), Alderney and the Isle of Man.

A spokesman for William Hill confirmed that its online business would be moving to an EEA territory in order to gain exemption from the advertising ban.

"The business won't be affected in any way because we have been aware of the change for some time," he added.

Meanwhile, Betfred is reportedly considering a move to avoid the ban as well.

The Sunday Times said that the company has hired advisers to carry out a review of the business, including a possible flotation on the London Stock Exchange

As of Sept. 1 gambling companies will be subject to restrictions on advertising their products in the United Kingdom on all forms of media, including television, radio, newspapers, magazines, taxis, buses, the tube and some Web sites.

According to the U.K Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the ban will prohibit around 1,000 gambling Web sites from running adverts in the country.