Switzerland: Casino blocking list faulty

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Peter Brandt February 22, 2021

More than 300 online casinos are part of the Swiss blocking list, which, however, does not work properly. As a responsible authority, the “Federal Spielbankenbankenkommission (ESBK)” lists the domain of illegal and non-permissible casino operators in a blocking list. The Swiss gaming market is to be protected from dubious offers. But many of the listed websites are freely accessible, only a small part is actually blocked. According to the ESBK, a complete surveillance is not within the scope of what is possible.

Despite the blocking list for online casinos, Swiss players can access the websites of inadmissible providers. ((©iAmMrRob/Pixabay)

Game game law as the basis

Switzerland has had a modernized legal framework for gambling since January 1, 2019. Due to the growing importance of the online offer, politicians have also taken certain measures for digital space in order to protect their own market and, above all, the local players sufficiently. The entire Regulars and guidelines fall under the Game Act, which, among other things, allows casinos with a permanent location in Switzerland to legally offer their range of games on the Internet. However, the relevant providers must have a license in the Federal Spielbankenkommission catch up. Without such approval, the operation of an online casino is illegally in Switzerland.

Since many companies from abroad want to present their online offer in the Swiss market despite the lack of a license, a blocking list in the Game Act was quickly

implemented. All online casinos that operate without a state concession are listed on this. The ESBK regularly publishes which domains are on this list. The last update was only published in December 2020. All in all At that time, the blocking list contained around 316 different websitesthat, according to legislation, would have to be blocked by the respective network providers – as far as the theory. In practice, however, it turns out that the concept does not work as politics and gambling industry imagine. Many of the listed websites can continue to be visited without any problems.

Smart control. The blocking activities of the Swiss network providers are regularly checked by the ESBK, but only randomly. This was recently published by Emina Veladzic, head of the ESBK. From a logistical point of view, an extensive control system is not possible, which means that a complete control cannot be realized. This is also not provided for by law.

The blocking is only carried out in fraction

As the Swiss news portal “Watson” reports, only 53 percent of the 316 domains are actually blocked. The remaining 263 websites of online casinos can be called up without any problems via the network of Switzerland’s largest cable network operator (UPC). When asked about the status quo, Emina Veladzic tried the to defend random control of the ESBK. Since Switzerland has around 300 different Internet providers, it is impossible to check for all companies whether they really block the domains on the list. At the same time, it also depends on the individual devices and the browsers how effective a lock is ultimately.

Player protection does not guarantee. With the blocking list for online casinos, Swiss politics and gaming industry intended to improve player protection. However, the project cannot be implemented due to the incorrect blocking system. Since many of the listed providers come from abroad, surveillance simply lacks. Players fall through the grid in this way when they show any abnormalities in illegal online casinos.

Legal offer is accepted

Despite the missing locks for illegal gambling sites, the liberalized offer in Switzerland is on the right track. At least that’s how it emerges from the latest financial report in the local industry. So that should Legal gaming offer implemented between CHF 160 and CHF 180 million in the year 2020 to have. The estimate was originally around CHF 230 million. Nevertheless, the Swiss government is satisfied with the current development, according to the agreed media reports. This indicates that the players would accept and use the legal offers.

However, the good sales figures and the rising player volume are not only due to the current structure of the market. The one also has a large proportion Corona-Pandemie. Since the Swiss casinos are allowed to promote their offers on the net according to the Geschielensgesetz, they could Due to the Pandemic situation, win many new players. The advertising activities of the individual providers have increased enormously. The decisive factor for this was also the closures of the stationary casinos, which were decided in the course of the nationwide lockdown.

Increased gambling advertising. According to the brand analysis company “Mediafocus”, the gambling advertising of the Swiss providers rose by around 50 percent in April 2020 compared to December 2019. Over 60 percent of the broadcast advertising was for the online offer.