Canadian Law That Blocks Access to Gambling Sites Against the Law

Written by:
Guest
Published on:
Aug/05/2016

Gambling911.com speaks to Trade Group spokesperson, who is now fighting measure on behalf of his member firms, some of the largest in Canada.

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A new law in the Canadian province of Quebec that blocks residents from accessing Internet gambling sites must be nixed because only the Federal government in Canada, not provincial governments, has the power to regulate the Internet.

That's the claim of an organization fighting the legislation--called Bill 74--which would conceivably block not only websites that actually offer gambling, but also website that merely talk about or report on gambling (such as Gambling911.com).

The group fighting the bill, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA), is a trade group composed of several Canadian communications companies and has challenged Bill 74 in court.

The bill specifically allows Loto-Quebec, the governement agency in Quebec that regulates gambling, to require Internet service providers (ISPs) to block any websites deemed as gambling websites.

But the authority to block such sites is reserved for the Federal government of Canada, not individual provincial governments, and that assertation is how the CWTA plans to derail the legislation, according to a CWTA spokesman who was interviewed this week by Gambling911.com.

"As this issue is now before the courts, we are not at liberty to offer much in the way of further comment," said Marc Choma, vice-president for communications for the CWTA.

"However, as we had previously expressed to the Quebec government, the provisions in the Act would put ISPs and wireless service providers in conflict with Section 36 of the Federal Telecommunications Act, which governs all telecommunications in Canada.

"As well," he continued, "we have always maintained, and as has been confirmed by the courts in previous instances, telecommunications is the sole jurisdiction of the Federal government and must remain so."

Chris Costigan, owner and publisher of Gambling911.com, is concerned that if Bill 74 becomes law in Canada, it could lead to Gambling911.com being blocked from view for Canadian readers.

"Gambling911.com doesn't offer any online gambling, but the powers that be in Canada may not know the difference--or care," Costigan said.

"At Gambling911.com we report on gambling but we also carry advertisements for online gambling sites, and that could be a problem under Bill 74," he continued. "Some government bureaucrat may not realize there's a difference between advertising gambling and offering gambling, and ban us."

Tom Wilson of leading Canadian casino portal Bestcasinoscanada.com  also remarked ''this is a confused  response from the Quebec authorities, for the time being we don't see  any changes to the status quo threatening the ability of offshore casino sites and affiliate portals to accept Canadian customers."

The CWTA has challenged Bill 74 in Quebec Superior Court.

If the challenge is unsuccessful, the bill will go into effect at the end of the year.

"We are ready and willing to offer any support we can to the CWTA in its efforts to derail this wrongheaded legislation," Costigan said.

By Tom Somach

Gambling 911 Staff Writer

tomsomach@yahoo.com

 

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