Several countries across the globe are taking a new approach to internet activity, cracking down on websites that promote terrorist or criminal activity. In certain areas of the world, the new restrictions are affecting online poker operators. The latest challenge to the online poker industry comes from Israel. The government of Israel recently approved a new law that will allow blocking or removal of sites that promote online activity that is believed to be connected to criminal or terrorist behavior.
The new law marks the first time that changes have been made to restrict the internet in the country. That law targets illegal gambling websites as well as advertisements of child pornography, prostitution, dealing of heard drugs and terror groups.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan stated that the new law will close an enforcement gap that existed for many years to fight crime on the internet. The new law provides police with the necessary tools to fight felons, criminals and others who have moved their illegal activities online.
Essentially, the government now has the power to block sites from operating in the country. Any site that is considered to be offering illegal gambling services would be shut down in the country. This could cause major issues for any operator that is offering services in the country as a shutdown would block players from accessing funds, which leads to another set of problems.
If an internet provider does not comply with the new court order, they will face two years in prison for their actions. We can safely assume that any online poker operators who feel they would be classified as illegal gambling sites will be removing services post-haste.
The last time that changes were made to local legislation that resulted in operators pulling out of a country involved Australia. Several operators pulled their services from the country starting last year after legislative changes were made, including Vera&John and 888.