Today the Court of Appeal has ruled that advertising for offshore betting in this country is illegal.

This overturns an earlier High Court decision which allowed Victor Chandler, and other bookmakers, to advertise their offshore betting services on electronic media such as teletext.

Financial Secretary Stephen Timms said:

“The Government is delighted the Court has taken the common sense view that Parliament intended to ban advertising for off shore betting services. This means we can continue to protect both the betting industry against unfair competition and the financial health of the racing industries who rely on the levy collected from each bet.

“Bookmakers rely on the industry to generate their profits, yet by moving offshore they can undermine the very industry they depend on. Government intends to continue protecting the betting industry from unfair competition.”

Notes to Editors

Betting with overseas bookmakers is not illegal, but to protect betting duty revenue and the bookmaking industry the promotion or advertising of overseas bookmakers is prohibited under Section 9 of the 1981 Betting and Gaming Duties Act.

Victor Chandler International last year moved its operations to Gibraltar and attempted to target former UK customers by offering ‘tax free’ telephone betting with 3% deductions as opposed to the 9% (duty at 6.75% and racing levy) charged by UK bookmakers.

Teletext and Skytext withdrew advertisements placed by Victor Chandler, so the company took Customs to court to determine if the prohibition on advertising included electronic media advertising. The case was heard in the High Court on 8 July last year, and the court ruled in favour of Victor Chandler on 15 July. Since then Teletext and Skytext have accepted advertisements from offshore bookmakers.

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