MIL-OSI Translation: Alleged advertising for the unauthorized offer of “Stake” games: dismissal of the procedure

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MIL OSI Translation. Government of the Republic of France statements from French to English –

Source: Switzerland – Department of Foreign Affairs in French

Federal Gaming Commission

Bern, 04.06.2024 – The Federal Gaming Commission (CFMJ) has closed the procedure opened in connection with alleged advertising for online gambling unauthorized in Switzerland by the operator “Stake”. Indeed, a detailed analysis of the case revealed that due to a combination of several criteria, the use of the “Stake” logo by Sauber Motorsport AG (“Sauber”) did not constitute punishable behavior. This decision does not constitute a precedent.

In Formula 1, “Sauber” presents itself with the logo of its partner and sponsor “Stake”. This logo is, for example, visible on racing cars, but also on racing suits, the website, social networks and during various live broadcasts on Swiss-German television SRF. The question was whether “Sauber” was advertising “Stake”, an operator of online casino games unauthorized in Switzerland. At the beginning of 2023, the CFMJ Secretariat opened an administrative criminal investigation and conducted an investigation to determine whether in this specific case it was illegal advertising within the meaning of the federal law on gambling.

The notion of advertising, in its most general sense, also includes that of sponsorship. The online game offering of “Stake” is not authorized in Switzerland and is therefore on the list of game offers blocked by the CFMJ. The execution of the sponsorship contract, and more precisely the fact that “Sauber” appears accompanied by the name and logo of “Stake”, must therefore in principle be classified as advertising.

To determine whether this was illegal advertising within the meaning of the law, the CFMJ took several criteria into consideration. In particular, it took into account the fact that “Sauber” mainly made appearances at international level and that no events displaying the “Stake” logo took place in Switzerland. Furthermore, “Sauber” did not take any advertising measures that were explicitly aimed at a Swiss audience. As for the “Sauber” website, it is international and is not specifically intended for a Swiss audience. In its decision, the CFMJ also took into account the fact that the “Stake” games offer was not accessible from Switzerland by means of a VPN (Virtual Private Network), or in any other way, and that the operators of the online platform had taken the necessary measures to ensure that no Swiss player could register on the platform.

Based on the results of this investigation, the CFMJ came to the conclusion that the actions of “Sauber” did not constitute illegal advertising within the meaning of the Gambling Act and therefore terminated the proceedings.

The decision to dismiss the procedure does not constitute a precedent. In fact, it is the result of a detailed investigation carried out in the present case. The CFMJ will continue to carefully analyze any case of suspicion of illegal advertising for unauthorized casino games.

Address for sending questions

Charlotte Schläpfer, communications specialist, T 41 58 465 63 15, charlotte.schlaepfer@esbk.admin.chMarjorie Stangl, communications specialist, T 41 58 466 34 16, marjorie.stangl@esbk.admin.ch

Author

Federal Gaming Commissionhttp://www.esbk.admin.ch

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and/or sentence structure not be perfect.

MIL Translation OSI