LONDON: The startling U-turn on the liberalisation of gambling in the UK by the Brown administration has resulted in a ban on advertising by around one thousand overseas-based gaming websites.

The government says the move is intended to protect young and vulnerable people from unregulated sites without Britain's "strict standards".

Among those on the 'black list' list are, Betfred Casino and which are based in the Netherlands Antilles.

Meantime, websites in the UK, Europe and other approved areas can advertise on television, radio and in print, subject to British rules.

Says combative culture secretary James Purnell: "I make no apology for banning adverts for websites operating from places that don't meet our strict standards. Protection is my number one priority."

Under the permissive baton of Tony Blair, the UK had been heading Las Vegas-style towards super-casinos and a relaxation in betting ad rules under the provisions of the Gambling Act 2005.

However, Gordon Brown's arrival at Number 10 Downing Street has pulled the rug from under the feet of the gaming industry, which has been forced in recent in recent weeks to come up with a voluntary advertising code.

The regulator, the Gambling Commission, says the number of people betting online is increasing.

Surveys carried out in the year to June 2007 indicated that 8.6% of UK adults had taken part in at least one form of "remote gambling" during the previous month, up from the 7.4% in 2006.

Data sourced from BBC Online; additional content by WARC staff