Swiss Voters Support Gambling Bill That Blocks International Competition

The Swiss are generally known as a gentile, very polite group of people but they have a message for international online gambling operators, “Stay out of our country!” That seems to be the message the Swiss people are sending with their overwhelming support of a new gambling law that will block foreign gaming sites from serving the Swiss market.
Sunday’s vote was a referendum on a measure that was passed last fall, but was challenged by a coalition of youth groups who thought the bill’s contents were too extreme. They successfully petitioned to have the bill revisited but their efforts were only successful in that they were able to bring the bill up for another vote. Garnering the support of the Swiss people was another job entirely as more than 72 percent of voters voted to retain the original bill.
Opponents of the bill criticized its ability to block foreign gambling websites as a form of censorship that should be intolerable in Swiss society. The mass of Swiss voters, however, disagreed and supported its protectionist measures.
Besides blocking foreign access to the Swiss online gambling market, the new bill raises the threshold for taxes on gambling winnings. The current threshold for taxable gambling winning is 1000 Swiss francs and that will be raised to a whopping 1 million under the terms of the new bill.
According to a report from the BBC, Swiss gamblers spend about 250 million Swiss francs ($253 million USD) on unlicensed, foreign gambling sites each year.
The new law goes into effect this fall and all regulated online gambling sites serving the Swiss market will have a connection to the local land-based casinos as well.