Switzerland to Ban Foreign Gambling Operators as Voters Thumb Up Proposed Gambling Act Reform

Swiss voters backed the proposed nationwide ban on remote gambling operations yesterday. The final results of the June 10th referendum showed that the majority of local voters came out in favor of suggested Switzerland’s gambling law overhaul.

A total of 72.9% of the country’s voters supported the measure aimed at imposing better control on the industry and tackle problem gambling. The new law, which is expected to be one of the strictest gambling measures across Europe, is set to take effect in 2019. Under the provisions of the new online gambling measure, only gambling companies which run under a Swiss operating license would be permitted to offer their services to local users, including on the Internet.

Despite the fact that the new gambling law has been promoted as a measure aimed at tackling gambling addiction and preventing it from spreading on the territory of Switzerland, the proposed regime’s opponents have claimed that it was more of a censorship on online gambling websites operating in the country.

The fact that almost three-quarters of the Swiss voters who took part in the nationwide referendum backed the stricter regime on online gambling operations in the country represented a crushing defeat for the measure’s opponents, who have warned that the new law would seriously restrict local residents’ liberties online. As previously reported by CasinoNewsDaily, Swiss residents from the age group between 18 and 29 years were the ones who seemed to oppose the online gambling crackdown most firmly, as they were concerned that further restrictions could be imposed on the use of the Internet.

New Law to Be Enforced as Problem Gambling Measure

As mentioned above, offshore casinos and online gambling websites are to be suspended from offering their services to Swiss users under the new gambling law set to be enacted at the beginning of the upcoming year.

According to the Swiss Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga, the regime that is expected to be implemented in 2019 and involves blocking foreign online gambling websites, would not be a precedent, despite the measures’ opponents said otherwise. In response to the concerns that the remote gambling crackdown would be a form of Internet censorship, Ms. Sommaruga explained that the referendum results actually showed the local voters’ willingness to continue the current policy.

Addiction Switzerland Research Institute has revealed that about 75,000 people from the overall number of 8.3 million Swiss citizens are gambling addicts, with problem gambling protection and treatment initiatives costing over half a billion Swiss francs per year.

Local authorities also want to impose special taxation on all companies’ proceeds. As mentioned above, the measure comes at a time when Swiss regulators have shared their concerns with the increasing number of gambling addicts amid the growing power of online betting operators registered abroad. In addition, as previously revealed by the Government of Switzerland, the Gambling Act which has already been given the green light by both houses of Parliament would make the country’s legislation on the matter more up-to-date with the latest trends of the digitalization in gambling.

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