SWISS I.S.P. TRADE ASSOCIATION SPEAKS ON ONLINE GAMBLING BLOCKING ISSUE (Update)
Suisse Digital wants Swiss land gaming operators to fund any ISP-blocking initiative from government…and reserves the right to suspend blocking if it impairs service levels.
Suisse Digital, the trade association for the telecoms industry that includes Internet Service Providers among its members, has weighed in on the Swiss online gambling website blocking issue, suggesting that if the government proceeds with any plans to exclude competing foreign websites by ordering ISP blocks, the cost of such actions be borne by the land casino operators who the exclusions are designed to protect.
And, Suisse Digital recommends, if such a regime is introduced the ISPs should have the right to suspend blocking should it impair the quality and service levels of the networks.
Further, the association warns that by granting the gambling industry such an advantage, the government may be opening the doors for protection appeals by other industries, and could well end up swamped by similar requests from other groups seeking to reduce competition.
Our readers will recall that the Swiss federal government is considering a limited legalization of online gambling, perhaps for implementation two years from now, which will be restricted to land operators who already hold Swiss gambling licenses.
Whilst this political process grinds on, embattled Swiss land casino owners have been lobbying government for protection through the introduction of an ISP blocking regime which will keep competing foreign online gambling operators out of the Swiss market.
However, this has met with opposition from other action and trade association groups claiming that such a process is ineffective, disruptive and expensive, and could leave Switzerland behind the international economic innovation and technology curve.
Further complicating the issue, a Green Party politician has given notice of his intention to introduce a bill permitting foreign online gambling operators to apply for Swiss licensing, thus opening the market and giving consumers a better choice, along with generating tax revenue and license fees for the government.