The Swiss Ban on Foreign Gambling Services

The people of Switzerland have recently voted to ban online gambling services from companies based outside the country. Reasons for this ban tend to lean toward companies outside of Switzerland abusing loopholes in gambling laws and the ban has seen immense support from the Swiss people.

These online gambling services often includes activities like sports betting, poker, and most interestingly, virtual casinos. Virtual casinos feature the same types of gambling opportunities as brick-and-mortar style casinos, such as baccarat, blackjack, pachinko, roulette, slot machines, and more. Rather than using actual physical mechanisms to call numbers, online casinos work with random number generators to accomplish the needed chance percentages for the gambling parties.

Starting in January of 2019, only casino establishments based within the country of Switzerland will be permitted to provide online gambling options to citizens, all other providers of such services will have to be blocked by the local internet providers. When the outside gambling ban proposal came up to vote, the vast majority of voters supported the ban across all age groups, despite some youth branches of political organizations actively trying to collect petition signatures in an attempt to overturn the ban after it was voted in. Now, Swiss lawmakers plan to produce legislation that details how the legal online gambling services within the country will be permitted.

There is an odd loophole remaining, though, where foreign gambling companies are going to be allowed to partner with the local brick-and-mortar casinos based within Switzerland to still provide legal online gambling products, but only in the event that they have not serviced Swiss gamblers for the preceding five years. This loophole will still very effectively ban many of the larger, and more established, foreign gambling providers, that had already been operating in the Swiss gambling marketplace, from continuing their operations. However, it will allow some smaller and lesser-known entities that have not yet entered the Swiss market to find a way in, assuming they can find a local brick-and-mortar establishment to partner with them.

Reasons for banning online gambling are numerous and similar foreign restrictions have been put in place around the world, but similar odd loop-holes are present in the laws of other countries as well. For example, Australia has also banned foreign online gambling operations, but while it is not permitted for foreign sites to seek out Australian gamblers, it is not illegal for Australians to gamble on such sites if they discover them and find a way to gain access.

How the foreign online gambling ban will work out in Switzerland has yet to be seen, but based on the ever-changing nature of the internet, and depending on the determination of foreign internet casino operators, it may not turn out to be quite as effective as the Swiss hope.