France order ISPs to block sites

French flagFrench online gamblers will find it harder to visit sites unregulated by ARJEL after the government passed a decree forcing ISPs to block certain sites. Published on January 1 in the country’s Official Gazette, it means those providing internet services in the frog devouring nation will have to prevent users accessing sites that aren’t licensed by the country’s gaming industry authority ARJEL. report that ISPs will use “protocol blocking by domain name (DNS),” to ensure that users don’t get onto sites in a move that will see derision from firms on the outside looking in – and players won’t be pleased either. Good news for ISPs comes with the fact ARJEL is to foot the bill and as far preventing unregulated sites goes it’s the cheapest solution out there. Nothing like saving them pennies.

Trouble will come if the French failed to report the changes to the European Commission as Directive 98/48/EC stipulates you must report amendments on any draft text on services of the “Information Society.” There’s also the chance players will simply sidestep this ban by using IP spoofing services to get onto sites and it’s something that the country may find it hard to keep a handle on.

France first looked at IP blocking in August 2010; a short time after the country had decided to strictly regulate the industry. Back then they were going through the dirty laundry of non-approved international gaming industry firms as well as ordering the ISPs to do the hard bit and block sites. It’s unclear right now whether the new approach extends to sifting through drawers but their time may be put to better use providing the consumer with a more competitive offering by overhauling the gaming taxation system. It was over a year ago that leading French gaming industry voice Stephane Courbit called for the market to be radically changed and progress since then has been slow to say the least.