Battle Brewing in Quebec Over Online Gambling Censorship

Published Tuesday, December 01, 2015 -
Battle Brewing in Quebec Over Online Gambling Censorship

Black Friday and Cyber Monday buying revealed that the use of smart phones and other mobile devices accounted for a much larger percentage of purchases indicating the emerging strength of the mobile trend. The use of mobile devises has been obvious in the growth of online gambling in many jurisdictions that allow for the free use of the internet.

The use of the smart phone to bet could be curtailed in Quebec where the government there is seriously making moves to ban so called illegal online gambling web locations much to the dismay of international internet gambling service operators who take a part of the Canadian betting market. Some countries  have mandated takedowns of internet content or filtering, but Canada has for the most part maintained  an "open internet." Canadian law does not allow internet service providers to take down content due to allegations of copyright infringement or allow them to change content. The Telecommunications Act stipulates that "a Canadian carrier shall not control the content or influence the meaning or purpose of telecommunications carried by it for the public."

That being said the Quebec government recently introduced unprecedented legislation that would require internet providers to engage in censorship of internet content. The bill targets unlicensed online gambling websites in a bid to increase revenues from the government’s online gambling offering. The bill states, "an Internet service provider may not give access to an online gambling site whose operation is not authorized under Québec law." The lottery commission will be responsible for creating the list of prohibited web locations.

This bill will surely be challenged in the Canadian courts because jurisdiction over telecommunications falls in the realm of the Federal government. The Quebec government has unsuccessfully challenged this jurisdictional issue before. Using the consumer protection angle the Quebec government will fight the Feds to have the blocking of offshore betting sites banned even though the Quebec government's own working group on online gambling recommended a licensing system for all sites instead of censorship blocking.


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