Switzerland to Block Foreign Gambling Sites – Censorship or A Necessity

25 July 2018

Gambling can be fun but it can also become problematic hence the term problem gambling. Turn it up a notch or two and you get a whole lot of people wasting their money without ever wanting to stop, or just continuing, regardless of the desire to stop. Problem gambling exists in any country where gambling is legal and is a serious issue.

Governments tackle it in different ways, through hotlines, responsible casino owners or even laws, at time.

Switzerland just passed a gambling law which will prevent any foreign companies to operate in Switzerland. This law is to take its effect in 2019.

What does this mean for gambling in Switzerland?

Will Gambling in Switzerland Change? By How Much?

After both parliaments have agreed to pass the legislation things will change in Switzerland when it comes to online gambling. This means that for the first time, Swiss companies will be able to offer their own online gambling platforms and at the same time having no outside competition.

The aim of this project, according to the government is to deal with problem gambling. In a country where 8.3 million people live around 75000 people are problem gamblers. The country took notice and decided that even that small number of people is losing them money.

How is that possible? Well, it was possible due to the presence of online gambling sites which had nothing to do with Switzerland. They were foreign and thus not paying any tax or other form of compensation to Switzerland.

With this change, however, any foreign site will be banned and the Swiss casinos to make the move online will be taxed. They do state, however, that taxed money from the gambling earnings will be used to fund anti-gambling trusts, measures and other forms of help to problem gamblers.

It was noted that gamblers spent around 250 million Swiss francs which is around 251 million US dollars on foreign sites.

It was also stated, so that it does not seem like a complete rip off, that the government will actually lose money as the minimal amount that can be taxed from gambling will go up to 1 million francs from the previous 1000.

The Opposing View

This law was met with opposition, especially from the youth. Many organizations united and managed to gather around 50000 signatures with a goal of eventually overturning the act by staging a referendum. The opposition was not happy with this, claiming that Switzerland is using “methods worthy of an authoritarian state” and that this law is effectively “censorship of the internet”.

The co-president of The Greens’ youth wing and one of the leaders in the opposition, Mr. Lucian Franzini said that “this sets a very dangerous precedent”.

People argue that it would be better to strike deals with foreign companies that would agree to be taxed and regulated.

Whichever your view is, know that if you visit Switzerland, you will be gambling on Swiss-regulated sites.