Czech Court Approves Blocking Gambling Domains
When it comes to online gambling, the industry where control is of the utmost importance for governments, and by proxy operators, around the world, heads are beginning to roll in the Czech Republic. A court has ruled that Czech Republic’s plan to block unauthorized online gambling domains is constitutional.
Let us remember that earlier this month we saw the launch of PokerStars.cz, the Czech Republic’s first licensed online casino and poker operator since the country’s new regulated online gambling market took effect on January 1st.
New regulations relating to the gambling industry in the Czech Republic went live country-wide on January 1st. The new regulations induced an exodus by many international operators who opted not to abide by the new rules. Yet, many carried on with a business-as-usual mindset. Big names in the industry such as Unibet, Lottoland, Bet365, and Betfair as among the biggest violators named by the courts.
The Czech government has decided to take on each of these illegal operators, beginning with the demand that all ISPs block sites deemed in violation of the new gaming regulations as deemed by the Czech Ministry of Finance. If ISPs fail to do so, they will face administrative sanctions.
At the present tome, three administrative proceedings are underway according to attorneys from Havel, Holásek & Partners, a Czech firm paying close attention to the government’s actions against online operators in violation of the new provisions.
Some of the Czech governments officials have already rang the bell regarding the constitutionality of the decision, pointing mostly to censorship worries. The idea of using ISPs to foot the bill for failure on the part of operators to receive Czech gambling licenses is another hot topic.
Despite all their concerns, the officials were told by courts last Wednesday what amounted to “deal with it”, citing the ruling as “likely the only effective (although not perfect) solution” in the face of substantial international competition.
The courts reason for suppporting it’s decision is that the proposal to implement IP-blocking is one of the main steps to prevent illegal activities, as opposed to stifling freedom of speech.
In regard to burdening the ISPs with footing the bill for failed license attempts from operators, the court offered it’s reasoning for the decision as coming from a lack of “extraterritorial authority” and an inability to compel international operators from catering to Czech players.
The court also offered it’s reasoning in the burdening of ISPs with footing the bill for failed license attempts from operators, a lack of “extraterritorial authority” and an inability to compel international operators from catering to Czech players.