Quebec Moves Closer to Censoring Online Gambling

Published Saturday, November 14, 2015 -
Quebec Moves Closer to Censoring Online Gambling

The online gambling industry is experiencing a competition for location of sorts that governments are supporting by putting restrictions on access to online gambling domains that are not sanctioned or legal.

Jurisdictions such as Russia, China, the United Kingdom and others have made efforts to block internet sites which include gambling. The reason for censoring this activity from the internet is safety according to the authorities but also in some instances it is economic.  The recent revelation that the Province of Quebec Canada will instruct Internet Service Providers to block unlicensed web locations that offer online gambling comes as no surprise. The Province announced some time ago it was planning on implementing the move that has now been confirmed. Critics are saying the initiative sets a dangerous precedent for censorship of the Web.

Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitao brought to the table legislation for the provincial budget that includes amendments to the province’s Consumer Protection Act which directs Internet service providers to “block access” to a list of “unauthorized gambling sites” to be drawn up by Loto-Québec. Failure to comply with the order could result in a fine of up to $100,000 and twice as much for any subsequent breaches of the order.

Critics are saying the move is unworkable from a technical standpoint and it is plainly censorship. Timothy Denton, Chairperson of the Canadian chapter of the Internet Society, commented, “It is censorship. It’s blocking access to otherwise legally available sites in the interests of enhancing one’s gambling monopoly,” Denton added, “A lot of countries try to do it, but we don’t call them liberal democracies.”

A spokesperson for the Finance Minister, Nathalie Roberge, said, “These activities evolved and they are now online,” adding, “We have jurisdiction to regulate gambling activities and that’s what we’re doing with this project,”

There is no definitive timetable for the proposed legislation’s implementation which must now be debated and studied by politicians.


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