Quebec Wants Gambling Site ISP Blocks


Backlash from internet freedom organisations.

If passed, amendments to Quebec’s Consumer Protection Act, tabled in the National Assembly earlier this month by Finance Minister Carlos Leitão, would allow the Government to instruct ISP providers to block access to a list of unauthorised gambling sites drawn up by Loto Quebec.

Leitão said the action would protect its own Espacejeux online gambling revenues bringing in an additional $13.5 million during 2016/17 and a further $27 million during 2017/18.

But free internet advocate group Canadian Internet Society says the move amounts to censorship and sets a dangerous precedent against internet freedom.

“It is censorship. It’s blocking access to otherwise legally available sites in the interests of enhancing one’s gambling monopoly,” Timothy Denton, chairman of the Canadian chapter of the Internet Society told The Globe and Mail.  “A lot of countries try to do it, but we don’t call them liberal democracies.”

Denton is of the opinion that the measure would contravene the Federal Telecommunications Act.

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

Fines of $100,000 are proposed on those that fail to comply which can double for subsequent offences.