Network lock confirmed in Switzerland

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Peter Brandt July 6, 2023

The federal court confirmed the network lock for foreign online gambling providers in Switzerland. The judgment of the highest Swiss court was preceded by a lawsuit, which was submitted by three online casinos based in Malta.

In Switzerland, foreign gambling providers are excluded from the local online market via IP blocking. ((© Marco Pregnolato/UNSPLASH)

No fair competition

Switzerland organized its legislation for the domestic gaming market in 2019 and Reformed the Game Game Act for this. Of the New legal framework Although the legalization of the online segment, it provided for enormous restrictions that affect foreign actors in the industry.

Only gambling providers with headquarters and a terrestrial offer in Switzerland have the opportunity to apply for an online license. Companies beyond the national borders, on the other hand, have no chance of receiving a Swiss gambling concession. she are even classified as illegal market players And keep away from the local market by network blocking.

This rigorous approach did not want to be offered three -based gaming providers in Malta and was right against the network locks, which was imposed by the intercantonal gaming supervision against them. In their view Own economic freedom massively affects be.

Löchrigen system. Since 2019, the Federal Spielbankenkommission (ESBK) has been implementing the Gaming Act and excluding foreign online casino via IP blocking-as far as the theory. However, the system does not work error -free. In the recent past, it has always been reported that the player community in Switzerland has access to illegal gaming websites despite the IP blocking.

Federal court smashed the lawsuit

The judges of the Federal Court considered the plaintiffs’ arguments not conclusive and Smart their behest. The Supreme Swiss court thus confirmed the judgment of the intercantonal gaming court, which was already legal in the first instance in the gambling industry.

According to the judges, neither unfair competition nor the circumcision of economic freedom. The official judgment states that the legislator makes use of his right and is accordingly able to create appropriate parameters for him to create the players in Switzerland to protect from the possible dangers of gambling. The current regulation to limit the online gambling exclusively to domestic providers is therefore completely legitimate.

The federal court also defended the prerequisites for the acquisition of a Swiss license. Due to a lack of and effective supervisory options, it is understandable that only online casinos receive a license that has a terrestrial offer in the Alpine state. Since the state -based casinos are already tied to strict regulations, If quality assurance on the Internet is automatically successful.

Online casinos in Switzerland. Around eleven casinos in Switzerland currently have an online license. The locations in Baden, Lucerne, Pfäffikon, Davos, Interlaken, Bern, Meyrin and Lugano, Neuchatel, Basel and Montreux are all represented on the Internet with a casino offer. Most casinos have launched a new gaming brand for their online appearance.

In the interest of the player protection

The Federal Supreme Court bases its judgment on the player protection, which enjoys all the highest priority in the interpretation of the Geschielensgesetz Act. The used network locks are accordingly To be regarded as proportionate.

Even if the current handling of the legal situation cannot be guaranteed that foreign online casinos will make a way to the domestic gaming market, the current legal framework protects the majority of the player community. The channeling order applies to the average player because this led to the legal offers According to the judges.

EU law. Even if Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, the Alpine state must adhere to the law of the State Association due to numerous contracts in many areas. For example, freedom of competition and service in Switzerland, which contested the three-based gaming providers in Malta, applies, but was not considered torpedately by the Federal Supreme Court. The judges even assured that the current interpretation of the law corresponds to the case law of the European Court of Justice.

Gambling laws in Europe

In contrast to many other countries in Europe, Switzerland relies on a very restrictive gambling law. Most countries have their legal framework for their own gaming market also reformed in the recent past and adapted to the modern conditions, but the respective governments are pursuing a much more liberal approach.

Online gambling in USA. The digital gambling has been legal in USA since July 2021. Private gambling providers can operate with an EU license in the Federal Republic. In the meantime, the national license procedure has also started, which awards official concessions to qualified operators. Despite the liberal handling, both the providers and the players must adhere to strict regulations.