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Players warned against illegal gaming sites with Swiss references

21st January 2014 9:19 am GMT

Switzerland’s federal government has again warned its residents from playing on illegal online gaming websites featuring numerous references to Switzerland.

The country’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the federal government centre for all core issues relating to economic policy, issued a warning Monday against three websites offering illegal online gambling.

It follows a similar warning by SECO last year against Scasino.com, which is owned by Gibraltar-based bwin.party digital entertainment and featured numerous references to Switzerland including the renowned Swiss coat of arms. The Playtech-powered website no longer features these references.

This time around, SECO has targeted three more online casino websites which offer various online gambling games that are illegal under Swiss law; Onlinecasinoschweiz24.ch, Casino-zuerich.com and Swisscasinoonline.eu.

“These websites are not connected in any way with Switzerland even though the use of the Swiss flag and numerous references to Switzerland falsely create that impression,” said SECO in a statement.

SECO claims that Onlinecasinoschweiz24.ch is operated by Gibraltar-based bwin.party digital entertainment, but the affiliate online casino site makes no mention of its owners on its website with no evidence suggesting any connection to bwin.party. The website features the Swiss national flag as part of its logo.

SECO says that Casino-zuerich.com is operated by Belize-domiciled company Virtual Casino Service, with the online casino powered by Playtech and Everest Casino. The website includes images of popular landmarks across Switzerland.

Nothing is known about the operators of Swisscasinoonline.eu, which features the Swiss flag on its logo.

“By making use of the Swiss flag and the geographical terms "Schweiz", "Swiss" and "Zuerich", the operating companies create the impression that the gambling games offered on the websites originate from Switzerland,” continued SECO. “However, the websites are not connected in any way with Switzerland.

“The online gambling games offered on the websites have never been approved by the Swiss Federal Gaming Board. Under the current law, gambling on the internet is illegal.”

SECO said that the content and the use of the Swiss flag on the websites are “deceiving”, and in its opinion are violations of both the Federal Act against Unfair Competition and the Federal Act on the Protection of the Swiss Coat of Arms.

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