Swiss regulator prepares to launch igaming blacklist

24 June 2019

Switzerland’s gaming regulator says it expects at least two operators to be added to the country’s new blacklist shortly after it is introduced in July.

The Inter-Cantonal Lotteries and Betting Commission (Comlot) outlined further details of those eligible to be blacklisted, which is to be introduced following the Federal Act on Gaming – which outlaws unlicensed gaming sites from operating in Switzerland - coming into effect in January.

Platforms that are accessible in Switzerland but not licensed can be added to the list by the Federal Gaming Board (ESBK) and the Lotteries and Betting Commission (Comlot). The names of the operators will be published on the blacklist with their domains blocked by a domain name server (DNS) lock.

Operators that are not active in Switzerland, or those that withdraw from the market before July, will not be added to the list or blocked.

The language in the Federal Gaming Act that granted Swiss authorities the power to order internet service providers to block access to certain sites proved controversial. Opponents of the measure claimed it amounted to censorship, forcing a referendum on the legislation, that ultimately saw Swiss citizens vote in favour of the legislation, paving the way for the Act's introduction.

Comlot noted that “the first two blocking orders are likely to be issued by the two supervisory authorities” in the third quarter of 2019. It did not name the two operators.

“When the first locks are issued depends on various factors,” the organisation said. “Comlot, however, assumes that the first blacklist will be published in the third quarter of 2019.”

The Swiss National Council, the Bundesrat, earlier this month approved igaming licence applications from four of the country's land-based casinos.

Grand Casino Baden, Casino Davos, Grand Casino Luzern and Casino Zürichsee applied for the licences to extend their gaming services online in April this year. 

Licensed operators will be able to offer new services such as poker and roulette, but at the same time must adhere to strict measures on setting maximum sums for poker tournaments, small lotteries and raffles.