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Learning English - Words in the News
04 October, 2006 - Published 10:31 GMT
Online gambling
Online casino

Shares in online gambling companies have lost more than half of their value on the London Stock Exchange today, following a move by the United States Congress aimed at banning Internet betting. This report from Matthew Davies:

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While there have been moves to clamp down on Internet gambling in the United States for some time, this latest action by Congress was a little unexpected. The legislation was actually tacked onto an unrelated bill regarding security at American ports. All the bill needs to come into effect is the signature of President George Bush - and that's likely to happen within the next two weeks.

As a result, shares in some of the big companies involved in this sector have taken a significant battering, losing more than half of their value. The world's largest online casino, 888, has already suspended its operations in the US - and another company, PartyGaming says it'll follow suit once the bill is signed into law.

It's a huge blow for these companies - this is a six billion dollar a year market - PartyGaming generates as much as 78 percent of its revenues from the United States. For 888, the figure is around 50 percent. However, while the immediate future of these firms looks bleak, many experts say that the desire on the part of punters to gamble means that, in time, ways around these new laws will probably be found.

Matthew Davies, BBC

Listen to the words

to clamp down on
to take sudden firm action (against a negative behaviour)

a law or set of laws

tacked onto
added to (something already complete)

to come into effect
to officially start

taken a significant battering
suffered a lot of damage (here, lost a lot of value in shares)

follow suit
do the same as somebody else has already done

a huge blow
serious damage


making you feel without hope

typical customers, particularly gamblers

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