Bulgaria, Latvia expand online blacklists but enforcement proves tricky

bulgaria-latvia-blacklistAuthorities in Latvia have yet again expanded their blacklist of online gambling operators not expressly licensed to offer services to Latvian gamblers. The latest revision, the 13th since the blacklist was published in August, brings the total number of blacklisted domains to 336. Latvia currently licenses just four online operators: Optibet, Olympic Casino, Joker Ltd. and Viensviens Ltd.

The newly blackened names include Betsafe2.com, allbritishcasino.com, allirishcasino.com, allaustraliancasino.com, poldercasino.com, nobonuscasino.com, freespinscasino.com, klavercasino.com, playbet.com, 1bet2bet.com and portomasolive.com.

Not to be outdone, the past two weeks has seen two revisions to Bulgaria’s State Commission on Gambling blacklist. The 20 new names bring the full roster of Bulgaria’s blacklist to 323 domains. Among the domains to have their good names dragged through the muck are Stanjamesbet.com, Caribsports.com, Betus.com and Camacasino.com. Bulgaria currently has eight licensed online betting operators, including Betfair, PokerStars and Eurobet.

Of course, it’s one thing to slap a scarlet letter on an online gambling domain but quite another thing to ensure that your citizens stop accessing the sites. Consider the example of Hungary, which has enthusiastically embraced the blacklist brush in an effort to bolster the business of state lottery and betting firm Szerencsejáték, whose Spielo G2-powered site launched in May 2013.

On Friday, Hungarian business daily Vilaggazdasag quoted Hungarian tax and customs officials expressing frustration over their “repeated attempts” at blocking the signals of unapproved sites. Since these efforts began this summer, the digital border patrol had attempted to block 69 online gambling sites but had so far only made 26 of these sites unattainable. A quick scan of the European nations’ various blacklists reveals repeated inclusions of certain operators using multiple variations of mirror sites intended to elude this type of blocking. Seems the only naughty list these sites really fear appearing on is Santa’s.