Swiss regulators publish first igaming blacklists

3 September 2019

Switzerland’s gambling regulator the Eidgenössische Spielbankenkommission (ESBK) and Inter-Cantonal Lotteries and Betting Commission (Comlot) have each published lists of companies not permitted to operate in the country.

The launch of the blacklists follows the implementation of the country’s Federal Act on Real-Money Gaming (Geldspielgesetz), which also permits Swiss land-based casino to launch online casino games. To date two casinos, Grand Casino Luzern and Grand Casino Baden, have launched offerings.

Article 86 of the Geldspielgesetz gives the ESBK and Comlot the power to have internet service providers block access to platforms that are accessible in Switzerland but not licensed, using a domain name server (DNS) lock.

Comlot’s blacklist has launched with 65 domains, including multiple sites operated by a single company, with 39 on the ESBK list. However, there is a lot of crossover, with several domains appearing on both lists.

Among the high-profile operators to have sites blacklisted are bet365 - which appears on both the lists alongside Interwetten and Pinnacle - Betclic Everest Group and Unibet. A number of German language brands are blacklisted by Comlot including my bet, XTiP and Cashpoint.

Esports betting operators such as Unikrn and GG.bet have also been blocked by Swiss internet service providers.

In June, Comlot said that it expected at least two sites to be blacklisted.

The language in the Geldspielgesetz that granted ESBK and Comlot the power to have access to unlicensed sites blocked prompted huge debate, ultimately resulting in a national referendum on the gambling legislation.

Despite opponents arguing that site-blocking measures amounted to censorship, a significant majority of the public backed the measure, paving the way for the act to come into force from 1 January this year.