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96 domains blacklisted by Swiss regulator

The Swiss gambling regulator, Eidgeosssische Spielbankenkommission (ESBK) and Inter-Cantonal Lotteries and Betting Commission (Comlot) has released a first blacklist of foreign gambling sites.

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. They include major gambling operators like bet365, Betclic, Pinnacle, Interwetten and Unibet, among others. All domains will now be blocked by local Internet service providers, but the ESBK stated that those foreign sites that voluntarily withdraw from the local market will be exempt from a block.

Russian gambling operator 1xBet is also among those to be blacklisted in the country after the company recently landed in hot water in the UK and had to suspend its local operation there.

Despite opponents arguing that site-blocking measures amounted to censorship, a 73 per cent of the public backed the measure in the nationwide referendum. The act has come into force from 1 January this year, however, the blocking started in August.

This blocking of almost one hundred foreign websites comes after a July’s change on the local law on online gambling which limits online licenses to land-based casino operators, with four licenses issued so far to Grand Casino Baden, Grand Casino Luzern, Casino Davos and Casino Pfaffikon. However, only the first two casinos listed have launched its offerings so far.

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