Letters - The Gambling Bill is a safe bet

I was sorry to read about James Burton's problems with "virtual roulette" machines ("The machines that ate my life", 21 February). His experience reflects why we need to introduce the new protections of the Gambling Bill. The machines operate in a legal limbo, governed only by a code of practice that limits their stakes, prizes and speed of play. That's because laws passed in the 1960s never envisaged a gaming machine operating from a remote computer sitting in a room miles away. The Gambling Bill modernises the law and gives us powers to control these machines. I made clear at the second reading that they are on probation and reminded the Commons at third reading that without the bill, there will be no powers to deal with them.

Tessa Jowell
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

This article first appeared in the 28 February 2005 issue of the New Statesman, Can free trade be fair trade?