Jowell wants Britain to regulate Internet gambling

Britain's Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell has pressed for international agreement over regulation of the online gambling industry in the wake of a US ban on Internet betting, an AFP report said.

Jowell opened the first international summit in Ascot, west of London Tuesday, to discuss the global impact of the industry, which last year generated sales of about $15 billion dollars globally, the AFP report said.

The AFP report also said Jowell's attempts at reaching an agreement at Ascot Racecourse have been hit, however, by Washington's refusal to send a delegation to the summit.

The summit is discussing ways of reaching internationally agreed minimum standards for regulating remote, telephone and online, gambling, the report said.

Challenges posed by remote gambling, according to the government, include the protection of children and vulnerable people, as well as fighting crime, the report said.

Opening the summit, Jowell said the industry had been hit very hard in the US by its government's ban on Internet gambling.

There is currently such a ban in force also in Britain but new legislation will see it scrapped next year, the report said.

British-listed gambling Web sites were forced into halting their US operations earlier this month after President George W. Bush approved a law that bans Internet betting, the report said.

Bush signed into law the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act 2006 that has made it illegal for finance companies to collect credit-card payments from customers using Internet gaming sites, the AFP report further said.