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Swiss OK blocking foreign betting sites

AFPGENEVA (AFP-Jiji) — Swiss voters overwhelmingly approved Sunday blocking foreign-based betting sites in a high-stakes referendum on a new gambling law designed to prevent addiction, but which opponents said amounted to internet censorship.

A full 72.9 percent of voters came out in favour of the new gambling law, final results showed, also indicating that only about a third of eligible voters cast their ballot.

The vote spells a crushing defeat for the opponents who gathered the 50,000 signatures needed to put a law change to a referendum, warning the law’s internet restrictions pose a serious threat to liberties online.

The Swiss government says the Gambling Act, which has already been passed by both houses of parliament, updates legislation for the digital age, while raising protections against addiction.

The law, which is set to take effect next year, will be among the strictest in Europe, allowing only casinos and gaming companies certified in Switzerland to operate in the country, including on the internet.Speech

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