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Swiss National Council comes out against iGaming site blocking

Switzerland's National Council, the lower house of the country's Federal Assembly, has spoken out against a proposal to give the Swiss Federal Gaming Commission powers to block access to unlicensed iGaming sites.

The National Council's Legal Affairs Committee narrowly voted against the proposal to implement IP blocking, which had already been approved by the parliament's upper house, the Council of States, and the ruling Federal Council.

The National Council said that instead of immediately taking extreme measures such as IP blocking, the Gaming Commission should employ measures that adhere to the country's laws on freedom of opinion and information.

IP blocking has already proved controversial, with the Swiss association of information and communications technology providers (Swico) describing the measure as "inappropriate and dangerous."

Instead the National Council proposes less extreme controls on unlicensed sites, beginning with a notification from the Federal Gaming Commission for unlicensed operators to cease their activity. If they fail to adhere to this request, the gaming commission would then be empowered to initiate criminal proceedings.

This alternative has been put forward as a new article that would replace sections 84 to 90 of the current draft of the Federal Gambling Act.

The National Council also voted against a change in the regulations that would allow separate iGaming concessions to be awarded.

Designed to facilitate foreign iGaming operators' entry into the Swiss market, it was defeated in favour of the current law which requires operators to have a land-based licence to offer online gambling.

Like the Council of States, the National Council also opposed the introduction of a tax to fund gambling addiction treatment and the establishment of a Federal Commission for Problem Gambling.

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