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Britain Has Gone Mad For Betting

Britain has gone mad for betting. Newsstands are crammed with glossy gambling magazines and a national daily newspaper devoted entirely to games of chance launched last month. Some cable and satellite channels air nothing but poker and casino games.

This year Britain even opened the world's first casino college, where croupier trainees learn the tricks of the trade. Now, the government hopes to make Britain the global hub of online gambling.

Britain has already laid out the welcome mat for online betting firms which allow customers to wager electronically on everything from horses and soccer matches to winners of reality TV shows and the Oscars.

Such web sites are operated legally by traditional street-corner bookies like Ladbrokes and William Hill, as well as by Web upstarts such as Sportingbet, UKbetting and Betfair.

Now Britain is set to increase the stakes. Parliament has enacted sweeping new legislation that will open up the online market, starting next year, to traditional casino games such as poker, blackjack, and roulette.

The government hopes that by becoming the first country in the developed world to legalize online gambling, it can lure offshore outfits to locate on British soil and pump even more revenues into public coffers.


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