Swiss Gov’t to Blacklist Foreign Online Casinos

Switzerland to implement blacklist today, IP blocking the domain names of illegal online gambling sites.

Switzerland to Implement Blacklist IP Blocks of Illegal Online Gambling Sites

Many of you will remember a few years back the big debate over Quebec’s attempt to enforce IP blocking against foreign online casinos, poker rooms and sportsbooks. The province passed a law giving themselves the right to blacklist offshore gambling sites they considered to be illegal. And, as you may recall, the federal government and telecommunications agencies stepped in and squashed the plan, informing Quebec that internet censorship is not a provincial matter.

The same cannot be said of Switzerland. The Swiss government has been working diligently to regulate the online gaming industry within its borders, and last month, took a vote on the prudence of IP blocking to keep illegal offshore operators at bay. Despite intense objections that included a 50,000-strong petition, the official vote came in at 73% in favor of the IP block.

Bon Voyage to Illegal Online Gambling Sites

Online betting is nothing new to the people of Switzerland. International operators have been peddling their virtual wares here for years. And for many of those years, there were no express laws to prevent them from doing so. Now, scripting federal regulations for the famously neutral nation’s local iGaming operations is changing everything.

The Swiss government is tired of foreign online casinos essentially getting away with tax evasion, and said as much on the website of the Commission for Lotteries and Betting (Comlot).

For many years foreign operators largely based in offshore states have been offering gambling on the internet in Switzerland. Their foreign headquarters enable them to evade monitoring by Swiss authorities and to defy Swiss law.”

Comlot notes that the Federal Act on Gambling criminalizes the act of “offering money games from abroad”, and that any operator caught doing so “is subject to prosecution under criminal law.” Therefore, Comlot and the Swiss Federal Gaming Board (SFGB) have been granted legal mandates to restrict access to websites that provide access to unauthorized gambling.

Such access will be restricted by way of a DNS / IP block against all domain names appearing on the federal government’s blacklist of foreign iGaming operators, to be scripted, maintained and updated as needed by Comlot and SFGB.

Swiss Foreign Online Casino Blacklist

Internet service providers (ISPs) operating in Switzerland are henceforth legally obligated to take reasonable DNS-blocking measures to prevent Swedish citizens from accessing any domains found on the current blacklist.

“These measures will contribute to purging the Swiss gambling market of foreign operators who regularly fail to take appropriate steps against fraud, money laundering and problem gambling and who pay no taxes or other levies in Switzerland,” explains Comlot.

All publications and modifications to the blacklist will be announced in the Swiss Federal Gazette, and published (in the form of a .PDF file) on the Comlot website.

Switzerland’s blacklist of illegal gambling websites goes into effect July 1, 2019. That is today’s date. However, that page remains empty at the time of writing, containing only a message that promises current and past versions of the domain names list will be available shortly.

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