The government of Lithuania has proposed a measure to its parliament which would legalize internet gambling in 2014 while also introducing strict controls, which could include ISP blocking.
The government introduced the measure to the Seimas with the hope of clamping down on offshore casino sites taking business away from licensed companies operating in the eastern European country. Deputy Finance Minister Vytautas Galvonas said that even though gambling was made legal in 2001, internet gambling was not covered in the language of the bill. He claims that because of a lack of regulation, offshore companies may cause legitimate betting firms to go out of business if no steps are taken.
The proposed law would make internet betting legal, but only allow licensed firms to operate in the country of 2.9 million. As a way of keeping out unlicensed betting sites, the law would allow for the Gambling Supervisory Authority to block out access to sites through Internet Service Provders.
Commenting on the potential process of IP blocking Galvonas said, “The Communications Regulatory Authority said that it would cost a lot (to block a domain) and it’s very complicated. But we have Estonia’s example – the Estonians said that it’s not a cure-all solution. There is a black list, they are tracking those companies and blocking them. As far as the results are concerned, 66% have not even noticed that such a measure is being taken. Another 19% circumvent the law and 16% do not register since they are aware that they will be blocked."
IP blocking has been a controversial practice in the European Union, with member states facing legal challenges in front of the European Commission. Such cases are still pending resolution, but can bring stiff penalties for countries found violating specific EU laws.