Swiss Casino Offers Lawmaker a Board Seat…But They Want Something in Exchange
Ever since the dawn of the internet gambling era, European casinos and governments have struggled to come up with ways to protect their places in the established gaming market. Usually, these efforts involve throwing up roadblocks to international competitors such expensive application fees or having local internet service providers block outside operators from the local internet.
Recently, a Swiss casino allegedly tried a new tactic in the war on competition, offering a local lawmaker a seat on its board of directors in exchange for his support in blocking international gambling domains from the Swiss market.
The politician in question, Marcel Dobler, says he was approached recently with the offer from a land-based casino in the Central European country. Dobler wouldn’t name the casino that made the offer (there are about 19 casinos in the country) but was comfortable enough to talk about his claim to the Swiss media.
While it’s not certain where the offer came from, it’s clear that Swiss gambling magnates aren’t big fans of the free market. According to a report on CalvinAyre.com, a Swiss casino CEO recently said that gambling isn’t really a “normal product” and should be exempted from the rules of the free market.
Dobler recently voted against a proposed law designed to keep the Swiss online gambling market in the hands of the existing gambling power structure. In this case, that means existing land-based casinos and the state lottery. The law also involved the sort of international domain blocking that has become the hallmark of European opposition to online gambling.
While the bill did not pass on the first try, a petition from elements of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) has triggered a referendum on online gambling that will take place on June 10.