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Europe should introduce new legislation to clampdown on online gambling fraud, according to a top London lawyer.

Steven Philippsohn, senior partner in the specialist fraud law firm Philippsohn Crawfords Berwald, says there are lessons to be learnt from a recent botched attempt to outlaw online gambling in Greece.

"The Greeks are to be congratulated for recognising that on-line fraudsters are setting up gaming sites that take your money but never pay out.

"It is the simplest scam in the world and accounts for 20 pc of all internet fraud, taking millions of pounds from innocent dupes."

Philippsohn is calling for co-ordinated action to tackle the problem with the European Union taking the lead to draw up an EU-wide approach.

"By going alone Greece has made a mess of things and we can only tackle the problem by co-ordinated international action. It must be properly thought through and not mean you can’t even play Resident Evil or Tomb Raider," he said.

In July the Greek Government rushed in legislation that failed to distinguish between electronic gambling and computer games, leaving tourists liable to prosecution and threatening ruin to thousands of Internet cafes.

An attempt to prosecute two Internet café owners under was ruled as unconstitutional by a judge and led to the Greek Government backing down and stating that only gambling activities would be prosecuted. ®

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