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Last Updated: Friday, 10 March 2006, 05:18 GMT
New gambling laws to help addicts
Roulette table in Blackpool
Critics fear increased addiction
Proposed new rules governing the future of gambling in the UK have been published by the Gambling Commission.

Restrictions on alcohol, licensing dealers and the provision of help for problem gamblers are some of the measures operators should implement.

All new casinos must adhere by the guidelines, if passed, or face being fined or having their licences revoked.

Last year 53bn was spent on gambling, including the National Lottery, and one million people regularly gamble online.

The draft Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice aim to reduce crime, ensure fair play and prevent underage gambling.

What can be a harmless pastime for one person can be a life-destroying addiction for another
Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell

Online gaming websites, which have seen a huge growth in recent years, will be regulated for the first time and rules will govern the treatment of addicts.

The proposed rules are being put out for consultation, and they follow legislation passed last year by Parliament.

The Gambling Act 2005 comes fully into force in September 2007. It relaxes some laws on the activity and permits the building of 17 more casinos.

Critics of the bill feared an increase in problem gambling and the bill was diluted to reduce the number of regional "super casinos" to one.

A further eight large and eight small casinos were included in the bill which was eventually passed.

The Act also created the commission to regulate all gambling apart from the National Lottery and spread betting.

The proposed new rules include:

  • operators publishing policies and procedures for promoting "socially responsible gambling"

  • information and advice for problem gamblers being prominently displayed

  • online operators informing customers how much time and money they are spending on the site

  • operators training their staff about problem gambling

  • prevention of underage gambling, including age checks on those who appear to be under 21

  • licensing of casino employees such as dealers and cashiers

Gambling Commission chairman Peter Dean said: "We've drawn from international experience to make sure that standards of social responsibility amongst Britain gambling operators will be the highest in the world.

Poker table
Dealers will have to be licensed

"We will monitor all British gambling operators to make sure they comply with our rules."

Fines or the revoking of licences is in store for those who fail to comply, he added.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said gambling could destroy lives, so the new rules were vital.

"Be it a betting shop, a casino or a gambling website, gambling operators across the country will soon have to comply with these tough requirements," she said.

"Without the Gambling Act, this would not have been possible."

What the new rules could mean

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