Copyright: chaoss / 123RF Stock Photo

The issue of whether online gamblers in Switzerland should have legal access to gaming sites based outside of the country’s borders looks set to be settled by a public referendum, reports

The move follows Septembers parliamentary approval of a bill that permits only online casinos based in Switzerland to offer their services to Swiss residents.

Challenging the new bill, lobbying groups from across the political and business spectrum in Switzerland have submitted a petition of 60,000 signatures, 10,000 more than required to potentially trigger a referendum.

Andri Silberschmidt of the Young Liberals political group, which wants to see the new restrictions lifted, said: “Most people we talked to during our campaign in all different parts of the country don’t want state interference in [the] legal online offer. And they don’t want protectionism for domestic casinos.”

However, Swiss gaming operators that back the restriction as it stands have accused opponents of using financial support from non-Swiss online casinos to collect the signatures necessary to trigger a referendum.

The signatures must first be validated by the federal authorities before the government can set a date for the ballot.