Gambling Commission fail with latest ISP attempt
The UK Gambling Commission met with Internet Service Providers (ISP) over the last week to try and get them to place “Splash warnings” on online gambling sites that are unlicensed and illegal in the UK. However both BT and TalkTalk both refused the request from the gambling regulator.
The latest setback for the Gambling Commission asks questions on how effective the regulator can be in controlling the access of illegal online gambling sites into the UK.
The request by the regulator for “warning pages” on unlicensed gambling websites which would alert customers that the sites are illegal was refused by both ISP and either a court order or primary legislation to enact such a move would make them change the current system.
Hopes were raised that service providers would assist with the Commission as new gambling legislation being brought into the UK will demand that tax will be calculated to online operators on where their customers play and not where the online operator is located.
Some licensed operators doubt the new regime can be enforced, believing the powers to stop unlicensed operators are too weak.
The commission 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 offer.”
A TalkTalk spokeswoman said: “We do not believe that it is for ISPs to decide what content customers should access. 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 it is down to customer choice.”
This latest situation brings into reality the true difficulty government and regulatory bodies have in controlling the influx of online content to any country and being able to impose tax and regulatory controls upon those online operations that ignore licensing measures within a countries borders.