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Online Gambling No Longer Accessible from Lebanon?

Gambling sites have been blocked in Lebanon reported Blog Baladi last month:

It was brought to my attention that gambling and poker sites are no longer accessible in Lebanon. I looked up a bit online and tried opening some websites and they weren’t accessible indeed. The decision to block the gambling sites was apparently taken by the Ministry of Justice (…)

Then a few days ago on Twitter, @MoNajem raised the issue with Telecommunications Minister @NicolasSehnaoui:

@MoNajem: Under what law online gambling has been blocked in #Lebanon. Who has the right to do so? We only know u @NicolaSehnaoui to ask

The Minister replied by saying this has been done in order to comply with the law, although he also specified he disagrees with the decision.

@NicolasSehnaoui: @MoNajem The law that gives casino du liban monopoly over gambling. The order was issued by the highest judge. 1/2

@NicolaSehnaoui: @MoNajem I went to see him to plead against the decision but couldn't convince him. 2/2

He his referring to a 1995 law that gives Casino du Liban (Lebanon's only legal casino) monopoly over all gambling activities on the Lebanese territory as explained by @sygma:

@sygma: @MoNajem under decree 6919 of June 29 1995, Casino du Liban was given monopoly over all gambling activities to “protect public morals”.

Mohamad Najem ‏pointed out it could start a vicious and worrying cycle of more filtering.

@MoNajem: @sygma on Lebanese lands, and not on z online sphere. Otherwise, blocking other kind of websites will start to happen for different reasons

Other Twitter users shared their concern over what became an interesting conversation.

@walasmar highlights the dangers of applying national legislation to online space:

@walasmar: @MoNajem @NicolaSehnaoui the issue is that tomorrow he can use media law to block all blogs bcz not part of the press syndicate

And @ralphaoun warns of a potential slippery slope:

@ralphaoun: @AbirGhattas @walasmar @MoNajem now it's Poker, next it's Adult content, then Blogs, then…

with some perspective:

@ralphaoun: @AbirGhattas @walasmar @MoNajem debate in Euro Internet Forum -> only thing that could possibly be blocked is child pornography


The discussion also showed how disconnected from (virtual) reality these decisions can be…

@LeNajib: @ralphaoun @AbirGhattas @walasmar @MoNajem It's funny hearing about things getting blocked on the internet as if its possible or sustainable

@AbirGhattas: hello VPN @LeNajib @ralphaoun @walasmar @MoNajem

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