By Matthew Marietta, Rakeback.com Executive Editor
PartyPoker’s owners bwin.party have come a cropper in Switzerland over one of their subsidiary casino sites. The Swiss Government has taken the unusual step of issuing a public warning about the site “scasino”.
“Some of the contents and the use of the Swiss coat of arms on the website www.scasino.com are deceiving and misleading. In the opinion of SECO, there is a violation of both the Federal Act against Unfair Competition and the Federal Act on the Protection of the Swiss Coat of Arms.”
The Swiss government maintains that online sites offering gambling to Swiss citizens are illegal, although the law is ambiguous having been written largely in pre-internet days. The government has no enforcement measures at all available to prevent players playing on popular sites, and has no legal powers it can use to prosecute sites for offering games to players.
No other warning notices have been issued about any other gambling sites, so the whole rationale for this one is the chagrin felt by the authorities at a gambling site daring to allow Swiss customers while simultaneously using Swiss national symbols.
The offence is compounded by bwin.party having no offices, staff or servers in Switzerland, while prominently displaying a logo on the site saying “Experience Swiss Quality.”
New online gambling legislation is coming with a consultation under way between the government and Swiss Cantons who have jurisdiction over gambling within their boundaries.
The notice appears petty and trivial, but the Swiss take national pride seriously, and don’t see why anyone who isn’t Swiss should benefit from their hard earned reputation for quality or use their flag for an activity which if not exactly a crime, doesn’t enjoy 100% popular support in the country.
Meanwhile, PartyPoker is focused on the final details of its long promised new software client which should come out soon in beta and go live within weeks rather than months. A new lobby, social gaming features and an improved VIP program for the recreational player should all be part of the package.
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