January 12, 2017 / by: Gray Peterson
As the Swiss lawmakers progress with their new task of creating gambling regulations for the local market, information reaching our news desk indicates that foreign online gambling operators may be blocked from operating in this country if the new measure prepared by the lawmakers is implemented. If the measure receives enough backing and becomes law, it will come as a rescue measure for local operators who have been raising concerns about their financial status and the heightened competition threat from international iGaming operators.
Reports from various sources indicate that Swiss lawmakers are contemplating on allowing locally owned and operated casinos to provide online gaming options. However, they feel that the local operators will face steep competition from international casinos and that is why they are proposing for an establishment of an IP-blockage which will safeguard the local gaming industry.
Local media houses have reported that a group representing the interests of Swiss telecoms, both publicly-listed and privately-owned, expressed their dissatisfaction with any measure seeking to block international iGaming operators. The representatives argued that if such a proposal is implemented, it will be up to the local gaming companies to pay for the extra cost that will arise after the departure of international operators. Additionally, one Suisse Digitale, which is a telecom company which had its representation in the group, also warned that if this IP-blockage would impair the quality and effectiveness of the entire network service, they will not hesitate to suspend it.
IP-blockage has for a long time been used by many jurisdictions in market regulation since it solidly differentiates between what is legal and what is not needed. Although various countries and states use it, it goes by saying that such measures are highly ineffective considering that modern browsers are optimized with different advanced features which can help users to bypass or circumvent bans.
Although lawmakers believe that blockage is a crucial step that Switzerland needs to take if they want to establish a robust regulatory framework on iGaming operations, the move may be detrimental to different sectors of the industry including gambling itself. For instance, local telecoms have insisted that a ban on international websites will probably bring more harm than good. For example, a prohibition of these sites may lead to blockage of unrelated but misleading content too. It will also result in loss of revenue for local telecoms which significantly rely on international operators.
Apart from the IP-blockage measure, it has been reported that a separate legislative piece suggesting a different approach to regulation and licensing of online gambling is in the making. This legislation which is expected to be discussed by legislators states that iGaming operators from international fronts will be given a chance to apply for licenses if they want to run local operations. Many experts have rallied behind this second measure saying that it will provide local players with a wider choice as well as provide additional tax revenue for Switzerland.