ISPs Reject UK Blocking Request

The UK Gambling Commission wants a block on unlicensed overseas gambling sites, but the country’s major broadband providers have refused. Policing the internet is not their job, they say.

The UK Gambling Commission has hit a wall in its bid to block access to unlicensed gambling sites doing business in the country.

Members of the regulatory agency recently met with broadband providers, BT and TalkTalk among them, with a plan for inserting warning pages on the sites—“splash pages,” they’re called, and usually associated with pornographic content—but the providers refused to agree.

The commission regulates commercial gambling in Great Britain and plans to require all online operators taking bets from British players. The government also plans to impose a point-of-consumption tax on licensed offshore operators at the end of this year.

The government has already agreed with ISPs to impose mandatory “opt-out” filters for broadband access to content such as pornography and self-harm web sites, which is coming into effect this year across the industry, and has been extended to gambling sites as an option for broadband providers.

But the ISPs maintain they aren’t internet police and would only enforce a blanket warning on foreign gambling sites if presented with a court order or the government enacts primary legislation. The stance is similar to the one they adopted when copyright holders requested blocking of digital file-sharing sites.