Publish Gambling Ads, Go to Jail
The British Parliament is reviewing a proposal by the Secretary of State for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) James Purnell to ban gambling enterprises based outside the European Economic Area from advertising in the UK. According to a Register article, this would include companies such as “William Hill Casino, Betfred Casino, and Littlewoodscasino.com”.
The register goes on to state “The ban will apply to all forms of gambling advertising including television, radio, newspapers, magazines, taxis, buses, the tube, and some websites. If operators, publishers, broadcasters, and advertising companies accept adverts they could face fines or prison, said the DCMS.”
Luckily there are alternatives if you’re based outside the European Economic Area. Countries can apply to be “white listed” or excluded from the advertising regulations. The idea here is that countries who feel their gambling laws are consistent with those within the UK can request an exemption.
Of course, you’ll have to have a cozy relationship with the government where ever you are based to get them to apply for the exemption or change their legislation to be in line with the DCMS’s idea of propriety.
Currently only Alderney and the Isle of Man have been granted an exemption. The Register also states “the most popular countries for hosting gambling websites are Antigua, Costa Rica, Canadian reservation Kanawake, and Netherlands Antilles”. Seeing as the UK is such a huge online gambling market, I wonder how long it will take before Alderney and the Isle of Man start to grow their hosting industry at the expense of these countries.
As a publisher these regulations can create a lot of headaches if you have automated ad buy systems. If you’re a publisher in the UK you may want to review your gambling advertisers and see if they’re based in the European Economic Area. If any of them are not, you may want to reconsider that relationship or risk hefty fines and jail time.