Commentators in the Swiss press say that by endorsing a law to ban offshore casinos from offering online gambling in Switzerland, voters have opposed industry experiments. Casinos and politics must now act, they wrote, but doubt that blocking websites will be effective against illegal gambling.
Here’s a round-up of what Switzerland’s Monday newspapers are saying after a 73% majority approved a major overhaul of the country’s gambling law.
“The stakes were too high for the young political parties, led by the spirited, centre-right Andri Silberschmidt, when they decided to challenge the new law with a referendum. Their fight was never about content. The voice with which they spread their message was bought by foreign gambling providers. Not only the collection of signatures, but the entire voting campaign was funded from abroad. But they weren’t open about this fact, and ultimately it was this lack of transparency which made them fail”.
Neue Zürcher Zeitung
“With an alarmist poster campaign, the law’s supporters tried to mobilise the public. The threats were completely exaggerated. But it wasn’t the questionable posters which decided the vote; it was the opponents’ failure to address the law’s weak points besides the internet network barriers. With this vote, Switzerland has closed itself off from other countries when it comes to the gambling industry, which is incompatible with liberal principles.”
“An important question remains unanswered: will the network barriers, designed to keep out unwanted competition, really work? Particularly passionate players who invest a lot of money could easily circumnavigate them, particularly since this won’t even be illegal. The decisive factor will be if the casinos can offer attractive options online, otherwise there is a risk of a black market emerging which will be neither controlled nor taxed.”
“Voters have spoken out against industry experiments and opposed the liberalisation of the delicate gambling market. The motivation behind this ultimately conservative decision must be welcomed. The resounding yes-vote will hold local providers to account and it is now up to them to implement the law for the common good. In a nutshell: the more attractive the legal offers are to consumers, the less likely it is that they will gravitate towards the black market.”
“In view of a particularly alarmist campaign, the Swiss considered it a wise step to follow the government’s recommendation on the issue. The referendum committee made the decision even easier by discrediting itself right from the beginning of the signature collection stage. By using the financial resources from foreign gambling sites which wanted to operate in Switzerland without contributing to the public’s common good, the law’s opponents compromised their entire campaign.”