The United Kingdom's Department for Culture, Media and Sport today published the first set of draft clauses of the Gambling Bill as DCMS Secretary Tessa Jowell called for regulations that will meet the demands of current gambling technology.
Gambling legislation reform is long awaited in the United Kingdom, where the current casino laws date back to the 1960s.
Jowell, in an address to the House of Commons, said she'd like Gambling Bill to accomplish four key things: a crime-free industry that can adapt to technological changes; the establishment of a gambling commission to regulate the industry; more gambling offerings for players to choose from; and more protection for children and people who have gaming addiction.
"The world has changed dramatically since previous legislation dating back to the 1960s," she said. "Then, laws were introduced to provide Britain with a gambling industry that was free of crime. Today, British gambling has a worldwide reputation for integrity but changes in society and in technology mean that the current laws are out-of-date (and) no longer do the job they were intended to. The law needs to be modernized."
The first draft clauses draw on the Budd Report, a major report on U.K. gambling completed by Sir Alan Budd in July 2001.
The draft clauses call for the Secretary of State to be able to regulate that a certain method of communication--Internet, telephone, television, radio--may or may not be treated as a form of remote gambling for the purposes of the act. .
Jowell's introduction to the clauses call for the law to be modernized to create wealth and jobs and allow for casinos to be located in areas that were previously off limits.
The gambling commission that Jowell's office wishes to create is described as having more functions, flexibility and enforcement power than the Gaming Board for Great Britain, an agency that the commission would replace. The commission would develop codes of practice to allow it to adapt to new issues in gaming and consumer protection needs.
Jowell said she would present a complete draft of the bill to Parliament in the fall.
"Gambling is a diverse, vibrant and innovative industry and a popular leisure activity enjoyed in many forms by millions of people in Britain today," Jowell said. "And this leisure environment is also a source of employment and wealth for many towns and cities. This bill aims to ensure that the public can enjoy that choice to the full and with confidence. It recognizes that adults need to be trusted and treated like adults."
Modernising Britain's Gambling Laws (The DCMS's draft clauses, published in July 2003)
Anne Lindner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org