UK BID TO BLOCK ILLEGAL ONLINE GAMBLING SITES IS REJECTED

Published on January 31, 2014 in Industry News

The UK is now in the midst of revamping its policies concerning internet access to illegal gambling sites blocking, but it now appears that the UK Gambling Commission doesn't have the power to implement such a move.

In short, it appears that UK online gambling regulations will not be able to prevent players from accessing unlicensed offshore gambling sites.

In 2006, the United States made American financial transactions with online gambling venues illegal, thereby discouraging the usage of offshore gambling websites. And the US isn't alone. Bulgaria and Belgium have passed laws that require internet providers to block online gambling sites that aren't licensed in that particular nation.

In the case of the UK online gambling regulations, the UK's Gambling Commission met with internet service providers and urged them to implement so-called 'warning pages' that would be displayed before an individual can view an unlicensed online casino. But the ISPs refused the Gambling Commission's attempts to insert these warning pages. Now, officials will need to enact legislation or obtain a court order that requires internet service providers to display these warnings.

“We do not believe that it is for ISPs to decide what content customers should access,” said a spokesman for ISP TalkTalk. He added, “It is really important that there is either a proper legal framework when it comes to blocking access to sites, just like with copyright infringement or that is down to customer choice.”

The UK online gambling regulations are hotly contested. A Gambling Commission spokesperson said, “We have been exploring the internet service providers' approach when faced with clear evidence that sites are unlicensed and engaged in illegal activities. At this stage, we are just exploring back up options as we do not expect illegal sites to be a major issue given the attractiveness and width of the legal offerings.”