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Gambling Watch

This page helps us keep an eye on the proper advertising of gambling at this site. On the Internet, anything goes, and it is inherently the International Net, but there are a few exceptions. According to a news release from the Gambling Commission, if you're an affiliate, and you live in the UK, and if the gambling casino you are advertising is also in the UK, you have to be careful to avoid enticing people to gamble. The official line is that gambling is tolerated but is not to be encouraged. So, gambling advertisements should not "INVITE" people to gamble. This means in effect that if you had the intention to gamble in the first place then you can do so, but you shouldn't be drawn in or lured into gambling if that wasn't what you were going to do to start with.

The solution: Obviously the best answer is for the affiliate to avoid being in the UK! There are many other reasons to avoid living in the UK as seen on the page "the advantages and disadvantages of living in the UK". Also, the Gambling Commission have had the good sense to acknowledge that they can't legislate around the world. The Internet is out there in the International Zone, like in "International Waters" in the shipping sense. But if you live on the same piece of land as someone, it's best to keep on good terms with them if you can.

As I interpret it (I'm not a legal expert, by the way), the legal terms explained in the news release also don't apply if the casino is in the wider world, for example in the Netherland Antilles as some of the casinos are.

So, as Zyra's website has thousands of pages, the first thing to do was to list the pages which had gambling in them and were about places in the UK. Next, the pages were adjusted to try to avoid anything which might be interpreted as an "INVITE", for example "Do you fancy a game of poker?"! The main gambling page was without any such things, and it already went further than the legislation required, even saying "You should only gamble what you can afford to lose". My own view is that gambling doesn't need any hype, and people will make a free choice if they are properly informed. However, some of the pages linked from the gambling page might have required some adjustment, but it depends on how paranoid you have to be about it. As a paranoid schizophrenic myself, I tend to overreact! In fact, I am living in fear of there being simultaneous dawn raids on a few hundred people who've even stepped a tiny bit out of line on the advertising even though they did not know about it!

Anyway, I could go on about it, but here's the list of pages being worked on to get things sorted out here:

24 Dogs - previously included a banner offering a free bet ... flattened and adjusted so it only displays company name.

BetFair - the page gives people a choice to visit the Betfair site if they want to.

Bet Fred - on being asked, Bet Fred made helpful comments, but they gave a link to the 1968 Act which appears to ban just about everything. This doesn't make sense. Maybe Bet Fred is safe from the restrictive rules by the text specifically addressing the readers as "Punters!..." which means they are familiar with gambling and not being "invited" and so the material is not "increasing the demand for gambling".

Butlins Bingo - It's ok they're in Gibraltar!

Coral Bookmakers - page is now ok.

Coral Casino - page adjusted to make the options more open - good, balanced views are expressed.

Coral Poker - page adjusted. The words of Coral are quoted in good faith, and we add cautionary notes to make sure everyone is clearly informed that playing poker is inherently a risky thing to do!

Crockfords - this page has been changed to be an independent anecdotal review involving Crockfords Casino in the hopes that at some time it will be possible to advertise the place again in the freedom which is available internationally.

Daily Draw - well, ok, they're claiming to give away a million pounds, but you're unlikely to become addicted to gambling by it, as the only entry fee seems to be that you are expected to look at their advertising.

Flutter - the page we have gives only the outline, and in a factual (but humorous) style. It's part of Betfair by the way.

Gambling - the main gambling page seems to be ok. This has always been deliberately un-hyped, as gambling doesn't need any flashy selling. People make their own minds up, if they are allowed the freedom to choose.

Gamebookers - although the company's own shpiel boasts well of their good points, it is stated as factual information and there is nothing wrong with what's been said, nor is there any enticement to go and gamble if that wasn't what you were already going to do.

Ladbrokes - the page here for Ladbrokes the bookmakers is discretely explanatory, and there's a good section on responsible gambling.

Littlewoods - football pools - surely that's sports betting, isn't it?

Monte Carlo Casino - the page has been rewritten to make it into a historical account of events rather than being a live advertisement for the casino (whose web domain had already disappeared at the time).

National Lottery - UK National Lottery - we may have to assume that they are exempt!

Play 65 Backgammon - is that exempt because it's a game of skill?

Ritz Club - when I phoned the Ritz club and asked about this, they were surprised anyone was even asking, and are quite happy about it all. I had serious doubts about the way the legislation would regard the Ritz club paying the customers £5 per hour to play poker, as surely that's an incentive?, but no, at The Ritz, everything's ok. (2006/04).

Rush - competition to win a car - even though the fancy banners are tempting they don't link anywhere and the text I have written as an independent review of the place clearly gives the customer a realistic balanced view of what was involved. Also, the page currently (2006) links to no gambling/lottery sites and instead links to snazzy cars (to buy, for cash) and to the exciting adventure experience holidays.

Scratch and Match - again, as per The Daily Draw, you get entered into a raffle in exchange for paying attention to various advertisers' promotions. Nomatter how much attention you pay, it's not the kind of account that can go into deficit.

Sporting Index - surely that's exempt because it is SPORT BETTING?! Also there are clear warnings that sport spread betting is risky. (risk warnings have been improved)

UK Casino Club - the page and banners have been adjusted to remove reference to such things as "$100 joining bonus!". Also, I would have thought the casino was primarily for international customers.

UK Casino Club - fact file - this page has been adjusted to make it clear you may gamble if that's what you want to do. This is different from ideas of "click here to download casino games" etc.

Vegas Red - we're not sure where they are based!

Vernons - football pools - sports betting, and also the page seems to be ok.

Victor Chandler - page seems to be ok, and it is mainly sports betting, which we are reliably informed is exempt. Also, Victor Chandler has a head office in Gibraltar. (a few minor adjustments made to page)

William Hill - page seems to be ok.

It's a work in progress! It's hard to see any way any of this is going to get a unanimous blessing from the Sunday afternoon church fete Puritans. However, there is no basis for assuming this site entices people into gambling. It's more like the phone book where people who are looking for particular kinds of business (gambling casinos for example), will find them! If anyone arrives on a page telling them about a casino, they are already there because they want to be.

If, after adjusting all these pages, I am victim to a dawn raid by the Gambling Commission, I do not intend to be taken alive! And, I'm adding an extra codicil to my Will so an immense amount of fuss is made in the media about my death at the hands of the UK Nanny State.

In addition to nannying about advertising of gambling, the UK also has a problem with an assumed idiocy in society, and so whereas in the olden days gambling machines were obvious in being a fun way to lose money, they've since been banned and replaced by GAMES OF SKILL. However, these have additional rules imposed on them such as that they must not have cherries, bars, sevens, and other symbolic things that people might be daft enough to assume mean it's gambling.

I am, of course, also leaving the UK. The UK has far too much tax and is far too restrictive. It's hidebound in legislative problems and is not a "free country". However, the UK might be on the road to recovery as it has recently (2010) deposed the quasi-communist government and replaced it with a hybrid moderate capitalist-friendly government which has at least some commonsense. However, not before the country was almost bankrupted because of the credit crunch

I have emigrated to Panama