Broadband providers under pressure to warn about unlicensed gambling websites
The Gambling Commission it seems has been told to go and get an official court order before two of the major UK broadband providers are willing to insert warning pop-up pages when people visit offshore websites that do not have a UK license.
This is not unlike the situation with the blocking of sites that offer material in violation of copyright rules, though after a lengthy court battle most new blocks appear to be almost a rubber stamp affair by the courts rather than a lengthy case.
Gambling is something that elicits a range of responses with some seeing it as a little harmless fun and others find it the start of an expensive and potentially life wrecking addiction.
The FT article suggests the aim is to insert pop-ups that are similar to those used when people try to access sites that feature illegal child abuse content. Any gambling website operating in the UK has to have a licence from the Gambling Commission, but of course overseas sites can be set-up as quickly as you can order a domain name and clone a virtual server, so licensing them becomes much harder and blocking just as difficult as it is with regard to unauthorised torrents of films.
A bill is on its way through the House of Lords currently that will change licensing and tax requirements to be based on where the customer is, rather than the service is operated from, though how this will operate in practice or be enforced is far from clear. The global nature of the Internet and the emergence of potential new global currency systems (such as BitCoin) are ripping apart centuries old trade barriers, but legislation still seems to operate on early 20th century rules.
Mission creep worries feature heavily in user comments when you read articles on internet blocking and censorship and it is looking very like the success stories of some areas are encouraging this. The blocking and removal of child abuse content had global support, but as we are now getting into the area of licensing the risk of the morals of a handful of people at the top of political pyramid being able to impose their personal belief system increases.
Credit to Mark on ISPreview for spotting the FT article.