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Monday, August 13, 2007

William Hill Casino relocates ahead of advertising ban

William Hill Casino relocates ahead of advertising ban

William Hill is set to transfer its online gambling operation from the Dutch Antilles in the Caribbean to Gibraltar.

City sources said the William Hill Casino move comes ahead of the introduction of a Government ban on the advertising in the UK of gambling websites that operate outside of the European Economic Area or so-called "white-listed" territories.

Gibraltar, an EEA territory, already hosts Ladbroke's online gambling operation, as well as those of 888.com and PartyGaming. But so far, only the Isle of Man and Alderney have made the Government's white list.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has rejected applications from the Dutch Antilles and Tasmania to be included on the white list, although it is still considering applications from Kahnawake (an Indian reserve in Quebec, Canada) and Antigua. DCMS argues that its tough stance is helping to drive up regulatory standards. "The Isle of Man, for example, has made significant improvements to their regulatory regime in order to secure a place on the white list," said James Purnell, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

The ban starts on 1 September and will apply to all forms of gambling advertising including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, taxis, buses, the tube and some websites. The DCMS said it will affect around 1,000 gambling websites, including some popular gaming sites.

Other online gambling sites operating from the Dutch Antilles include well-known brands such as Betfred Casino and Poker, Interpoker.com and Littlewoodscasino.com. These firms are expected to follow William Hill's example and move on.

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.

Source: The Independent News

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