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Israel The New China: Shuts Off Internet Access to Online Gambling Sites

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Jul/16/2010
Israel Online Gambling

Many of the world’s most prominent online gambling sites have origins in the nation of Israel, the biggest poker room on the planet, PokerStars, among them. 

This week, the Israeli government said “Enough is enough”.

That democracy seemingly took at page out of the China playbook (not to mention a number of its neighbors) by ordering Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block access to overseas gambling websites.

This is the first time Israeli ISPs have been ordered to block any websites, let alone online gambling ventures.

Local authorities have become especially aggressive against such businesses in recent years.  Earlier this year, Israeli officials arrested the owners of long-established Internet1x2.com, which partially operated out of Belize since 2000. 

Israel Police representatives visited every Israeli ISP over the past few days to personally deliver the directive.

The police handed the providers a list of overseas gambling sites and their IP (Internet protocol) addresses to be blocked, according to Haaretz.

"It is my intention to order your company not to provide users with access to these sites," states the police order, which is signed by Central District commander Maj. Gen. Bentzi Sau.

Israel has long been a hotbed of online gambling activity, mostly via outside marketing firms which employed low salaried individuals to “low ball” websites into accepting so-called “one month test campaigns”.  These firms became synonymous with daily spam. 

Nevertheless, sites like PokerStars and CasinoOnNet, whose owners originate from Israel, have become respected and highly successful business enterprises in the sector.

Companies the likes of Internet1x2 were not, however.  Payout problems persisted throughout the later company’s shoddy existence. 

ISPs argue that the police have no right to enforce such overt censorship and worry about what types of websites will be targeted next in a nation that prides itself on being one of the most progressive in the region. 

Over the past year, Australia has been facing a similar Internet filtering effort by certain forces within that government aimed at both the online gambling sector and porn sites.  Like Israel, Australia too has long had a foothold in the burgeoning Internet gambling industry. 

Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com

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