To seek support for its move to regulate the online gambling industry, Britain is planning to host a global online gambling convention. This summit is meant for open discussions of the problems of online gambling, including underage gambling and addiction.

The meeting is called for after a moving year for the online gambling business in the UK, where three huge online casinos hit the stock market in 2005, generating billions of dollars revenue.

Anthony Write, a spokesperson for the UK’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport stated last Monday that the summit is organized to discuss problem areas like protection of children, money laundering, criminal infiltration and advertising. Write adds that the UK is the first country moving towards regulating the online gambling industry, and now it needs help from other countries to develop this idea.

Online gambling is big in Britain and the largest online gambling operator is located in the UK and came to the stock market in July as the biggest float in London in over five years.

Last year, the UK introduced the Gambling Act as part of a move to modernize the 40-year-old gambling laws of their country through a new regulatory framework. Some of the aspects of the new act got criticism from opposition politicians and anti-gambling groups, which warned for the dangers of gambling addiction and crime.

The global online gambling industry is in total valued up to $12 billion a year. Online poker became the most popular game all over the world, attracting many women to play on the internet, who otherwise would have never placed a bet in brick and mortar casinos.

Other reasons for the boom in online gambling, besides poker, were the growing and improving broadband accesses and the convenience of playing at home 24/7.

The UK ministry is planning to send invitation for the convention to countries all over the world, and has already received positive feedback from South African, Australia and New Zealand.

It’s not sure if the United States will participate in the summit, since online gambling is still considered an illegal activity in the US.