British web surfers are bracing themselves for an explosive new torrent of online gambling adverts. September will see the deregulation of gambling advertising in the UK, but word is that gambling sites plan to boycott the Government's licensing system because of an unreasonably high gambling duty.

The UK Government's Gambling Act 2005 will come into effect in September this year, and will also remove the prohibition of advertising for other forms of gambling.

The regulations say that online casinos, such as 888.com , will be able to advertise but will have to follow a set of guidelines to get their adverts through the system. The sites will not be able to advertise on sites aimed at under-18s, and the adverts themselves cannot depict anyone who appears to be under 25 taking part in the gambling.

And that's not all. The Gambling Act 2005 says that online gambling companies must act in a "socially responsible" manner and must not, for instance, promote gambling on websites as a solution to debt.

Change in tactics

Last year, Peter Dean, the chairman of the Gambling Commission, promised: "Everybody who offers gambling in Britain will be required to be licensed by us. This applies to terrestrial gambling as well as e-gambling."

But now operators are pledging to not even bother buying advertising licences because of the UK Government's relatively high 15% remote gambling duty which was announced this month in the new Budget.

Offshore gambling firms will be able to unleash an onslaught of new web ads designed to drive internet browsers en masse onto gambling websites. And the Government will not be able to block such a move because of their protection under European freedom to trade rules.