British culture secretary Jeremy Hunt is planning to introduce reforms that protect online poker players from unregulated offshore gambling websites.
Jeremy Hunt – who is in fact the secretary of state for culture, Olympics, media and sport – is pushing for tighter laws in relation to poker websites when a review begins following the events of ‘Black Friday’.
The US Department of Justice (DoJ) closed several sites on April 15, including PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker, in relation to alleged violations of gambling laws when processing money transfers.
The 44-year-old Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for South-West Surrey wants stricter online laws introduced as offshore firms attempt to sign up British players from overseas.
Recent reports indicate government ministers aim to shield British poker players from facing the same problems encountered by American players after they were unable to access their accounts to remove funds when indictments were placed on three of the USA’s leading poker websites – including the troubled Full Tilt Poker, which has also seen their licences suspended by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) last month.
The ministry’s projected plans, which are still not confirmed, would result in offshore firms facing fresh restrictions in relation to advertising campaigns that target potential British customers.
Present legislation allows listed foreign firms the opportunity to promote their businesses to British customers without possessing UK Gambling Commission licenses.
However, the proposed reforms would halt these freedoms as it is believed that the current law allows too much emphasis on overseas operators showing honesty and integrity.
These anticipated new laws could well play an important role in the decisions made by the many offshore gambling commissions that supply licences to foreign poker websites.
As such, Steven Brennan, the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC) chief executive, spoke about the proposed modifications to the law, pointing out that the GSC has been doing its best to control offshore services.
Brennan said that “the GSC thoroughly checks and vets every director and key official of any online gaming company”, while also stating that the organisation has the ability to “turn down any company where it feels the company or the owners could bring the island into disrepute”.
It is expected that more details on the projected changes will become available over the next few weeks as MPs debate and discuss the plans.