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Gambling Firms Turn Out to be a Bad Bet

October 10, 2006 - 0 Comments

LONDON – Oh dear, a few months back I wrote about online gambling sites that

The stock market has expressed its view of the likelihood of gambling regulators effectively controlling behaviour by pouring hundreds of millions of pounds into gambling companies that draw revenue from a sizeable US user base.

And now we see the share prices of these same firms collapse as the US Congress has indeed taken legislative action to block their activities.Whatever the rights and wrongs of gambling as a specific issue, this decision is significant for the future of internet content regulation. Whilst it does not actually prevent access to sites, it asserts the right of a national government to control the online activities of its citizens. In the EU, regulatory activity has focussed more on laws requiring service providers and search engines to block access to sites containing material deemed to be illegal. The net effect of both forms of action is that increasingly the internet behaves differently depending on which country you are in. Where this will lead us over the long term is as yet uncertain but it is a trend that is worth watching.

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