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Switzerland to block unlicensed betting sites

19 Jun 2018

Switzerland witnessed an important referendum on Sunday when voters gave the green light on a new gambling law. According to the new regulation, foreign betting sites will be blocked as a means to help problem gamblers battle their addiction unless they are licensed in Switzerland. However, there was significant opposition to the new law by people who considered it to be a form of Internet censorship. Out of all the people who participated, 72.9% voted for the new regulation, with only 1/3 of eligible voters having participated in the referendum.

Player Protection to be Taken More Seriously

The government mentioned that a new update on the Gambling Act was much needed in order to enable player protection in the digital era as well as enhance procedures that help fight problem gambling for vulnerable players. The legislation framework is due to be introduced next year and will only allow Swiss-licensed operators, both land-based and online, to legally operate in Switzerland. This development marks the official advent of online gambling in the region.

Those who oppose the new law described it as "methods worthy of an authoritarian state" as well as causing extensive censorship of the Internet and not abiding by contemporary digital protection tactics. Luzian Franzini, co-president of The Greens' youth wing, claimed that the new regulation might have potentially disturbing results and does not set a good example. Simonetta Sommaruga, Swiss Justice Minister, claimed that the only way to control who operates in the Swiss gambling market is through this new strict framework.

The well-known organisation for fighting problem gambling, "Addiction Switzerland", came out with shocking statistics. According to them, 75,000 people suffer from problem gambling, a phenomenon that's tormenting the country as a whole. The concept behind the new law is for the operators' proceedings to be taxed in Switzerland and then directed towards funding anti-gambling programs and organizations.

Swiss players spend 250 million per year on casino and betting sites that are not licensed in Switzerland and do not, as a result, contribute to any taxes towards the country, according to the Swiss government. The new law is an effective way to battle this gigantic financial leakage and help direct it towards beneficial causes.

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