EGBA statement regarding Swiss gambling reform & increased VPN registrations

25 Jul 2018 – Statement regarding Switzerland’s June referendum result which approved legislation to block EU-based online gambling operators from the Swiss market:

“With recent news reports highlighting that some VPN companies have gained 20% more registrations from Switzerland this month, a development which these companies attribute to be a direct consequence of the online gambling referendum result, we strongly urge the Swiss authorities to reconsider adopting this unsustainable policy and instead design a modern policy for online gambling that allows all Swiss consumers to play safely within a Swiss regulated environment rather than protect the interest of a few incumbent operators.

It was very unfortunate that during the referendum campaign “foreign” operators were subjected to negative innuendo by some politicians and incumbents. These attacks wrongly implied that Swiss companies alone should be allowed to offer online gambling services because they were supposedly the only ones able to guarantee consumer protection – but nothing could be further from the truth. Our member companies are EU-based, licensed and regulated companies that are reputable, hold licenses to operate in many countries in Europe and adhere to the highest compliance standards.

As EGBA warned during the referendum campaign, blocking reputable EU-based operators from the market will lead to an increase of Swiss consumers looking for attractive offers outside the Swiss regulated environment and the negative consequences associated with that. VPN registrations will increase, Swiss citizens will not be protected by Swiss consumer protection law, the Swiss state coffers will lose out on tax revenue and Swiss citizens could be put at risk from black market gambling websites which are established outside of Europe. The only solution is a well-regulated, multi-license system for online gambling, which caters for consumer demand and consumer choice: it’s a win-win-win for consumers, operators & policymakers.” – Maarten Haijer, Secretary General, European Gaming & Betting Association (EGBA)