The Gambling Commission, which was set-up under the Gambling Act 2005 to regulate commercial gambling in Great Britain, has been told by two of the country’s largest broadband ISPs that it will need to seek a court order before they can impede access to unlicensed gambling websites.
The reaction, which is similar to how Internet providers tackle websites that are deemed to facilitate piracy (copyright infringement) or depict illegal images (child abuse etc.), follows a request by the Gambling Commission for BT and TalkTalk to put “warning pages” in front of the unlicensed sites.
Crucially the proposed splash pages would show to everybody and not only those whom have enabled the ISPs Parental Controls, which by contrast remain an optional system. However the commission has no firm jurisdiction over offshore websites and the Government’s recent move to tackle such abuses have been criticised for being too weak.
A Gambling Commission Spokesperson told the FT:
“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.”
Naturally the ISPs complain that it is not their duty to Police the Internet and TalkTalk wants to see a “proper legal framework” put in place, which would apparently need to be like the system for sites that infringe copyright (i.e. Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act). As it stands the copyright law cannot be used for the same purpose.