SO JUST SO RECENTLY - Switzerland went on to place bets on gambling law in high stakes referendum. And this is how it unfolded :

OPPONENTS HAVE blamed Bern for employing ''methods worthy of an authoritarian state,'' with a measure they claim is ''censorship of the Internet.''

''THIS sets a very dangerous precedent,'' said Luzian Franzini, co-president of The Greens youth wing and head of the campaign against the new law, told AFP. 

BLOCK ADDICTS - BOOST REVENUES : Swiss Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga, however insists that allowing only Swiss-based companies -

To sell gambling services is ''indispensable'' to ensure that everyone in the space adheres to strict rules, like blocking known addicts. 

ACCORDING TO ADDICTION SWITZERLAND, some 75,000 people in the small Alpine nation of 8.3 million inhabitants suffer from *gambling addiction*, costing the society more than  half a billion Swiss francs [half a billion dollars] annually.

Bern also wants all of the companies proceeds to be taxed in Switzerland, with revenues helping fund anti-addiction measures, as well as social security and sports and culture programmes.

Sommaruga told an online forum last month that Swiss gamblers spend around 250 million Swiss Francs annually on unregulated betting sites abroad that pay nothing into public coffers.

''Voting 'yes' to the Gambling Act would allow us to stop this hemorrhaging,'' she said.

According to GREA, an association that studies addiction, Swiss gambling and betting companies pulled in nearly 1.7 billion Swiss Francs in 2016, of which more than half went to ''the public god''.


But opponents claim Switzerland could make more money by issuing concessions to foreign companies that agree to be regulated and taxed.

And the new law will actually drain away revenues, since it raises the threshold for taxable winnings to over one million Francs, compared to 1,000 Francs today.

Franzini said the law represents a windfall for Switzerland's casinos, which has put ''huge amounts of money in campaigning''.

He claims the ''big difference in campaign money'' was the main reason why opponents trail in opinion polls, with the latest survey showing 58% support for the law.

The 18-29 age group was the only one clearly opposed to the law in the gfs.bern.poll.

''You could say there is a generation gap,'' Franzini said, noting that the average age in the parliament that drafted the law is 53.

''They may not really have understood what this could do to the Internet.''

Switzerland's new gambling law is one of several issues facing popular votes. Sunday at the national, regional and local levels as part of the country's famous direct democratic system.   

The Law got enacted.

The Honor and Serving of the latest perspectives, Laws, and referendums on gambling continues to Part 3.


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