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Italian state blocks gaming/gambling sites

 12:22 pm on Feb 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

...and I live here so I ain't happy!

Over 500 sites from bookmakers to poker sites have been blocked by the Italian state in its infinite wisdom. Trying to get more people using Italian sites.

Anyone else live in Italy been affected by this?



 12:26 pm on Feb 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

HOW exactly is the Italian state blocking the sites?
Aren't they still listed in the search engines?
I'm missing something here. -Larry


 12:30 pm on Feb 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Presumably all Italian ISPs are legally obliged to block the sites on the list the government has drawn up. Is that it?


 1:21 pm on Feb 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yes, ronin, that's what they've done. All ISPs have to conform otherwise face huge €100k fines for every transgression, so they've all jumped into line PDQ.

my poker applications work but if I try to access the sites through my browser, nada...just the default Ministry message in Italian.


 7:44 pm on Feb 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

I am frankly AMAZED that this hasn't made bigger news.

A major European state decides to just cut access to a huge tranche of international websites and no-one moves a finger. I can't believe this won't hit the tech press early next week.

here is one story I found:



 7:57 pm on Feb 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Apparently it has already appeared in the Financial Times and legal action is being mentioned.


[edited by: jatar_k at 8:52 pm (utc) on Feb. 25, 2006]
[edit reason] linked it up [/edit]


 7:59 pm on Feb 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

yeah, I noticed that too. Berlusconi's cronies being sued..who would have guessed!


 9:50 pm on Feb 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Well they have good company:
Internet Filtering in the United Arab Emirates
Internet Filtering in Bahrain
Internet Filtering in Burma
Internet Filtering in China
Internet Filtering in Iran
Internet Filtering in Saudi Arabia
Internet Filtering in Singapore
Internet Filtering in Tunisia
Wouldn't something as simple as a proxy server defeat such filters?


 10:04 pm on Feb 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

yeah, I looked into this. Apart from the aforementioned "dodgy" regimes, I think the only other countries who get involved with this are Germany and France that block literally a handful of Nazi/hate sites, which you may or may not agree with but it's not anything like this purely economic move by the Italian government.


 2:06 pm on Feb 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

With all this government regulation and geotargeting. It looks like there will be a strong business case for high speed proxy serving.

Matt Probert

 2:41 pm on Feb 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

It does raise questions of personal freedoms, and of legislative morality.

Though I suspect the restrictions and censorship are more for personal financial gain than any protection of vulnerable individuals (me being a cynical chap and all that).



 12:31 am on Feb 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

Blocked here in Thailand as well. I can't get a football bet on to save my life. Each time I try to get access to a gambling site I'm taken to a police website explaining that gambling is illegal in Thailand. (sure that it has saved me money).


 3:40 pm on Feb 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

It seems Italy has thrown it's dummy out of the pram good and proper, in the knowledge that Brussels will take at least a year to get things back to normal.

Good financial sense for Italy, bad for average Joe Punter.



 3:49 pm on Feb 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

Gambling is one place where I think that thins kind of blocking is appropriate. Gambling is a very strictly controlled industry in most countries, and unless internet gambling sites can comply with the local law regarding registration, gambling license, opening hours, tax, not accepting card payments, etc. then it is absolutely right that they should be blocked.

[edited by: vincevincevince at 3:50 pm (utc) on Feb. 27, 2006]


 3:50 pm on Feb 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

bad news :(


 4:14 pm on Feb 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

vincevince, not even the Italian government has tried to use the "gambling is bad" argument knowing it wouldn't go down too well in a country that allows casinos and bookies to advertise freely. Their "official" reason is that this is to combat phishing of Italian citizens. Make of that what you will.

BTW, the company that pays most into the coffers of Mediaset TV company, (the company that, coincidentally, Silvio Berlusconi owns) operates out of Gibraltar, is not Italian (Austrian according to this: <snip> and has escaped this ban - somehow. I wonder why...

[edited by: lawman at 5:25 pm (utc) on Feb. 27, 2006]
[edit reason] No URLs Please - Must Be a Subscriber Anyway [/edit]


 5:24 pm on Feb 27, 2006 (gmt 0)


Some checking has established that not all non-Italian gambling-related entities are hit, certainly within the EU...

Even so, this is still clearly against the EU "esprit-de-corps" that the Italians/French/Germans like to claim that the British (for one) fail to show. It is no wonder that the ECB and the Euro are still seen as puppets of domestic EU politics, and it will need this sort of behaviour to stop before the Euro and Euro-area really grow up. Well, that and removal of highly partisan and restrictive services and employment laws of course! B^>




 8:29 pm on Feb 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

Now we expect our government to block access to eBay, since online auctions are also illegal here in Italy.


 8:46 pm on Feb 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

a1call, add Belarus to that list


 8:06 am on Feb 28, 2006 (gmt 0)


Gambling is a loser's game, even for the 'winners'.

Now please block access to porn sites, and I might even visit Italy.


 10:13 am on Feb 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

yeah, well with apologies to Voltaire:

I may disapprove of what site you look at, but I will defend to the death your right to look at it.

well, maybe not to the death but you'd have to twist my arm a looong way.


 10:50 am on Feb 28, 2006 (gmt 0)


Gambling is a loser's game, even for the 'winners'.

Now please block access to porn sites, and I might even visit Italy.

They didn't block access to gambling sites because gambling is "immoral", or "to protect Italian gamers from “phishing”". They blocked it because those sites aren't licensed in Italy; i.e., they don't pay any tax to the Italian State Monopolies [aams.it].


 11:07 am on Feb 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

Giacomo, I was going by what I had read on this site and many others:


The Italian State has declared that this “oscuramento”, to be made effective on Friday 24 February 2006, is intended to protect Italian players from ‘phishing’ and not to protect the Italian Monopoly. Whatever the intention, it is very clear that the Italian Finance Act, which came into force without prior notification to the Commission as foreseen by the ‘Transparency’ Directive 98/34/EC, discriminates against operators which are not licensed in Italy, and violates at least five categories of EU principles, namely, the freedom of establishment and freedom to provide cross-border services as enshrined in Articles 43 and 49 of the EC Treaty and the recent ECJ case law


 5:23 pm on Feb 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

Can you still access betfair and Betdaq etc?


 9:21 pm on Feb 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

no to both of those...default Ministry message.


 7:17 am on Mar 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

When I try and get to any betting web sites I get re-directed to:


Don't know exactly what it says, but I can guess....


 6:14 pm on Mar 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

Get ready for this to happen in the United States as well. Word is numerous providers in the U.S. have been running tests with the filters so you might find yourself blocked from gambling related material for a few hours a day. Scary times ahead


 1:54 am on Mar 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

Is Italy not a WTO member nation? or do they just plan to block access until the WTO sets a deadline for economic sanctions against Italy and profit from it in the meantime?


 11:14 am on Mar 5, 2006 (gmt 0)


You will find, unfortunately, that French and Italian politicians/governments completely ignore laws and treaties that they have signed up to when they are inconvenient, yet berate others for daring to even think about doing the same.

The Italian betting fiasco is one case in point.

The "bird flu is not too dangerous so we'll go on exporting" line from the French (whereas they REFUSED point blank to restart imports of British beef after being certified free of BSE, and then refused to pay the fines for breaking EU law; no one was forcing any French citizen to buy or eat the beef, since we'd all be wary of course, but refusing to allow their own citizens to make the free choice for themselves was the substance of the crime).

The French in particular (more so even than the US, which gets a lots of stick for this) are frequently prepared to tell the world to go to hell but then demand equal access and rights out of the other side of their mouths. This is one of the reasons why the EU is in such poor shape, which is a shame, since I'm sure that if they did not have such a damaging hold things like the Euro would be a much better bet and the UK would have joined long ago. I've advocated suspending French membership of the EU until they are prepared to play by the rules they set, since they have one of the poorest rates of compliance with EU law AFAIK, and don't give a damn. The Italians would be next on my list. B^>

(It may also be worth noting that if not for (partly-self-granted) immunity from prosecution while in office, the presidents of both France and Italy would very likely be in jail right now; certainly up to their necks in the brown stuff in court. This is how we know how much respect they have for the law they apply to the "little people".)

Please note: this diatribe is aimed at the political elite of every colour in France/Italy, not at the citizens. I know many people from each country who dispair of the corruption (since that is what it is, in effect) of their "ruling class".

<end rant (for now)>




 9:06 pm on Mar 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

Stopping people from gambling by using filters is going to be as successfull as the RIAA trying to stop people from pirating music.

Hey if they can't stop the Chinese, from defeating the great firewall, and they live under a dictatorship, how are they going to do it in a free and democratic society, with unrestricted exchange of information?

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