Vice Squad
Monday, January 22, 2007
Britain's Gambling Liberalisation Nears

Why is it that "crackdowns" on gambling can occur overnight as part of a port security act but liberalisations meander for years? At any rate, the long-prepared British gambling liberalisation (first mentioned in Vice Squad in December 2003) continues to wend its way towards implementation in September. Not without controversy, however. This week [update - actually, next week] will bring the announcement of where Britain's first Las Vegas-style "super-casino" will be located -- the list of finalists includes the Millennium Dome -- and tonight a television show likely to be highly critical of the British government's conduct in developing the liberalisation will be aired. British Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell defended the liberalisation in yesterday's Observer, noting that "More than 99 per cent of people who gamble develop no problems." Ms. Jowell also reiterated the purposes of the liberalising legislation, those of protecting children and problem gamblers, while regulating gambling providers to ensure social responsibility.

Tessa Jowell is not only the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, she is also the Minister for the Olympics -- London is the host for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. The Millennium Dome, a spectacular White Elephant (and now offically known as the O2), is slated to host the gymnastics events in 2012. Lottery revenues are a major source of financing for the 2012 games.

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