Court Upholds Swiss’s Ban on Foreign Online Gambling Sites

Following the passing of the Gambling Act of 2018, the Intercantonal Lottery and Betting Commission introduced the domain name system (DNS) blocking strategy that placed a ban, on foreign online gambling sites in 2019.

Three Malta based gaming groups, whose domains were blocked in Switzerland since 2019, brought a claim at the Administrative Court last year, against the Swiss Federal Gaming Board that the ban using DNS blocking system was unconstitutional. The claim failed and the Intercantonal Gaming Court also dismissed the case on appeal.

The matter was then brought to the Supreme Court, citing that the ban was not only unconstitutional but that it contravened Swiss law by restricting economic freedom. The Supreme Court ruled that the DNS system, was proportionate in restricting access to online gaming offerings that are not authorized in Switzerland. The court also found the system to wield a sufficiently preventive effect on Swiss nationals accessing unlicensed operators and that the system is more effective than other alternatives, such as a list of monitored providers.

The Court on the restriction of economic freedom claim, ruled that the argument does not apply in the area of gambling, as the legislature has made use of its constitutional power, to diverge from the principle of economic freedom, by restricting the offering of online money games to operators, and games that are licensed and monitored in Switzerland.

In its final ruling, the Supreme Court stated that “Due to the lack of sufficient and effective supervisory options by the Swiss authorities, foreign competition is not permitted in this area.”

The Supreme Court was silent on the names of the plaintiffs, however according to Reuters, the Malta based groups seeking to evade the ban in a suit against the Swiss Federal Gaming and were ruled against by the Federal Administrative Court last year were; Interwetten International Ltd, Videoslots Ltd, bet-at-home Entertainment Ltd, and Lopoca Gaming Ltd.


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