Swiss casinos want to block the domains of international online gambling operators serving Swiss players while awaiting online regulation: the problem is they may have to pay for them.
Many casinos in Switzerland are struggling financially. They need the international blocks as a stopgap until expected regulation arrives circa 2019, when changes to Swiss gambling legislation allowing for Swiss casinos to offer online versions of their slots and games are set to take effect.
In the interim, private IP companies are not willing to help out casinos for free, demanding that Swiss casinos pay the costs of IP blocking even if the government orders the blocks.
Meanwhile, the bleeding continues as international sites continue to access and serve the Swiss market unfettered, taking a huge bite out of profits of legal land-based operations by providing the only current online play alternative to Swiss players.
Reticence on the part of IP providers was articulated by umbrella group Information & Communication Technology ICT Switzerland, last month calling similar IP-blocking schemes employed in other countries “practically useless” in achieving their stated aims of effectively protecting domestic markets, with Switzerland’s lack of a regulated market all the more problematic because there is no online gaming environment for Swiss players to turn to.
IP providers may not be so worried about the costs of the blocks as the greater costs of a lack of regulated online market
ICT trade group Swico’s managing director Jean-Marc Hensch recently cautioned that “if Switzerland is to remain innovative and competitive, we cannot cut ourselves off from international competition and let the digitization of the economy pass us by.”
Regardless of their individual opinions, what is clear is that IP companies such as ICT are passing the buck to Swiss gaming operators, even if the Swiss government approves the blocking measure.