As Swiss lawmakers are in the process of drafting new gambling regulations for the local market, reports have emerged that foreign iGaming operators may be blocked from the country. If implemented, the measure will come as a response to growing concerns over the financial state of domestic casino and lottery operators and the competition threat international rivals pose.
Swiss lawmakers are reportedly considering the possibility to allow Swiss casinos to provide online gambling options. However, operators will keep on losing money to international competition until any such measure takes effect, which has urged the above-mentioned proposal for IP-blockage.
It has been understood from local media that a group representing Swiss telecoms, both privately-held and publicly-listed ones, has not been particularly happy with the possible blockage of international online gaming operators. They have said that if any such measure is taken, they will require from local gambling companies to pay for the extra costs that will arise. In addition, Suisse Digitale, the telecom group, has also warned that IP barriers will be suspended, in case they impair the quality of overall network service.
IP-blockage is a common measure implemented by jurisdictions during market (re-)regulation as a clear distinction between what is legal and what is not is needed. However, it is no news to anyone that such actions are highly ineffective, given the fact that all modern browsers feature options to easily circumvent bans.
Although blockage is believed to be a necessary step at the time when Switzerland is looking to establish a new regulatory framework on gambling operations, the step may impact different industry sectors, including gambling itself, in a negative manner. For instance, local telecoms have warned that a ban on international gambling websites will probably result in unrelated but misleading content being blocked, too.
It has been reported by local media that a separate legislative piece has been in the making, this one suggesting a bit different approach towards how online gambling services are to be regulated. Under that other future bill, international iGaming operators will be allowed to apply for licenses to run local operations. Such a measure is believed to provide a wider choice for local players and additional tax revenue for Switzerland’s coffers.