Switzerland expands online gambling blacklist, shuts casinos


switzerland-online-gambling-blacklist-casinos-closeSwitzerland’s authorities continue their purge of unauthorized gambling sites as they attempt to steer local gamblers to sites operated by the country’s brick-and-mortar casinos.

On Tuesday, Switzerland’s federal gaming board (ESBK) issued the latest update of its blacklist of internationally licensed online gambling sites that lack local permission to offer services to local consumers. Tuesday’s update added 27 new domains, bringing the total number of blacklisted sites that local internet service providers are required to block to 172.

As with previous updates, most of the new domains are sketchy Curacao-licensed online casinos, although one domain (788-sb.com) is a mirror of UK online betting giant Bet365. Several other Bet365-related domains have been blacklisted by the Swiss Lottery and Betting Board (Comlot), which maintains its own independent list of online scoundrels.

Speaking of, Comlot also issued a blacklist update on Tuesday that added 13 new names, pushing Comlot’s list to a total of 101. Among the new entrants are Bet365’s Danish-facing site, an Efbet domain (linked to Bulgarian fugitive Vasil Bozhkov) and two domains of Alderney-licensed operator Wirwetten.

Switzerland allowed its land-based casino operators to launch online casino products as of January 1, 2019 and six casinos have so far received their online okays. Casino Interlaken, located south of Bern, launched its operations last month via StarVegas.ch.

Those operators that have yet to take the online plunge will be kicking themselves now that Switzerland has joined the growing chorus of nations that have ordered the closure of all casino operations to combat the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

The Swiss Federal Council held an extraordinary session on Monday, after which it announced that all casinos – regardless of in which language-specific canton they operate – as well as restaurants, bars and other public facilities, would shut their doors as of Tuesday and will not reopen until at least April 19.