Czech Parliament wants ISPs to restrict gambling access

Czech Parliament wants ISPs to restrict gambling access

The Czech government has tabled a controversial draft act on lotteries that would see a number of gambling websites blocked in the country, Zive.sk has reported.

If approved, the draft act on lotteries will allow the Ministry of Finance to compile a list of gambling websites to which Internet service providers (ISPs) must restrict access to. According to the report, additional sites can be added to the so-called black list even without a court order.

Finance Minister Andrej Babis said the proposed legislation focuses only on internationally-licensed sites, which he noted do not pay any levies or taxes to the government, placing domestic entities in a disadvantageous position.

“Czech companies are unable to compete with those illegal (sites). Lottery operations (of internationally-licensed websites) in the Czech Republic is hundreds of millions cheaper than the Czech entities,” Babis said, according to the news outlet. “State budget escapes billion dollars a year in taxes.”

The Czech government’s effort to censor Internet access, however, may prove to be useless. Industry experts said the parliament may block access through a DNS server or even use complicated techniques, but players will always find a way to work around it.

Only a handful of domestic firms currently populate the Czech gambling market. However, the country is already in the midst of overhauling the gambling sector, starting with a new gambling regime—one that will cover online gambling, slot machines and lotteries—by early 2016.