Israeli Police Can’t Block Poker Sites

Israeli Police Can’t Block Poker Sites April 12, 2012 Mario Alfonsi
by Mario Alfonsi  |  Published on Apr 12, 2012  |  Updated on Apr 12, 2012

An Israeli court has ruled that police cannot order an internet service provider to block access to foreign online gambling sites such as online poker sites and online casinos. This ruling came in a case that pitted the Israel Police against the Israel Internet Association (or ISOC).In the ruling by Tel Aviv District Court judge Michal Rubinstein, it was found that the state’s disapproval of online gambling was not enough for police to take the step of ordering ISPs not to allow customers to access internet gambling sites.“Clearly, gambling not approve by the state is a negative social phenomenon, but that in itself is not a reason to restrict that information,” said Rubinstein. “By blocking the gambling sites, the freedom of Israelis to access information was damaged, since they could not access the site to get the information stored there.”According to the ISOC, the case they brought wasn’t really about online gambling, but more about maintaining the rights of Israeli citizens. In their minds, this was primarily a case about ensuring that police did not have the right to prevent the access of information on a regular basis.Most online gambling is not authorized in Israel, though the ruling should allow players who wish to do so to access and even play at foreign-operated online poker and casino sites. One exception to the blanket ban is an online backgammon site, which has been very popular in the country.While Israeli ISPs may no longer be required to block illegal gambling sites, this method of “blacklisting” illegal sites is still being used in several other European nations, including Belgium and Bulgaria. For instance, Belgium has a rather wide ranging blacklist for sites that promote to Belgian players without having acquired a license in the country, such as

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