Great Britain: Internet Providers reject blocking of illegal gambling sites

According to a report by the Financial Times, British internet service providers (ISPs) have rejected an attempt by the Gambling Commission to post warning pages on unlicensed gambling websites, alerting the user that the site is illegal.

The Gambling Commission commented on its talks with the ISPs, which were held to investigate practices to protect users from unlicensed websites:

“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 offer.”

ISPs have previously resisted attempts to put warnings on websites or to otherwise voluntarily block copyright-infringing content from streaming or “peer-to-peer” download services on the basis that blocking such sites should be dealt with by way of regulation or court order.

This is another example of ISPs resisting attempts, by government, to require them to regulate and police the internet and a further blow to the use of ISP blocking as a mechanism to restrict unlicensed gambling websites in the UK.

Stephen Ketteley and Ruth Hoy, Partners at DLA Piper have considered the legal developments on ISP blocking in a previous article.