Sky to block gambling sites by default; Sky Bet re-ups Football League sponsorship

TAGs: censorship, football league, internet filter, Sky, Sky Betting and Gaming, sponsorship

sky-broadband-online-gambling-filterUK telecom provider Sky has confirmed that its broadband internet product will block gambling sites by default starting early in the new year.

In 2013, the UK government first announced its controversial internet filtering measures, which aim to protect children of all ages from content the government deems to be of an ‘adult’ nature, including gambling, porn and mentions of Prime Minister David Cameron inserting certain appendages into the mouths of dead animals.

The move was widely criticized by civil libertarian and free speech groups, as well as some broadband providers not named Sky. Previously, Sky asked subscribers whether they wanted to activate the Broadband Shield filter but Sky announced this week that, as of early next year, the filter would be automatically activated for all new subscribers, requiring more open-minded customers to actively switch the thing off.

Sky also plans to continue to periodically email old customers to ask them whether they’d like to switch on the filter, much as it did this January. Should customers not respond to this email for whatever reason, Sky will switch on the filter, requiring customers to root through Sky’s website to tick the “I’m a bloody adult and you’re not my mum” box.

UK media regulator Ofcom released stats this summer showing that 35% of Sky customers had engaged the filter (or didn’t realize it had been engaged), compared to 14% at rival Talk Talk, 12% at Virgin Media and just 6% at BT.

Meanwhile, UK online gambling operator Sky Betting & Gaming – which Sky sold to CVC Capital Partners last year – has re-upped its title sponsorship of the English Football League (EFL).

Sky Bet began sponsoring the EFL back in 2013-14 season – back when it was still known as The Football League – and attempted to pin down a two-year extension this May. Instead, this week saw the parties agree to a new three-year pact that will kick in next August and run through 2019.

The EFL will now be known as the Sky Bet EFL, while the league’s three divisions will continue to be known as the Sky Bet Championship, Sky Bet League One and Sky Bet League Two. The deal extends to the rounds that really matter, aka the new Sky Bet Play-Offs.


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