Switzerland Moves Toward Online Gambling Regulation

Published May 12, 2014

Switzerland Moves Toward Online Gambling Regulation

A newly introduced bill aims to regulate online gambling in Switzerland.

A draft of a new bill in Switzerland has driven the Federal Council of Switzerland to open a consultation in regards to online gambling legislation. The bill in its current form aims to regulate online gambling firstly by allowing land based casinos to operate on the internet, using their existing licenses. The bill is out for consultation until August 20, 2014.

According to the bill, online poker tournaments will be allowed outside of land based casinos, while all winnings from gambling will be tax free; this is similar to the UK model. There is no mention of foreign and overseas online gambling operators, and if these will be allowed to integrate in Switzerland's possible future iGaming market.  

If passed, the bill leaves the actual licensing policies down to the decision of Switzerland's 26 cantons, however it mentions the possibility of an establishment of a new intro-national body which will serve as an intermediary and institutionalize the cooperation and exchange of ideas between the different authorities. The bill also addresses subjects such as preventing gambling addiction, money laundering and game fixing; it will be a re-haul of the country's existing casino laws from 1998 and 1923.

Revenue Decline for Swiss Casinos

A major destination for tourists in Europe, gambling is legal in 19 of Switzerland's cities. 2012 saw a decline in the revenue generated by Swiss casinos with a drop of 8 percent. The new gambling bill was introduced a few days after the Swiss Casino Federation issued a report where it blamed online gambling as a cause of the recent weakness displayed by Swiss casinos, and it is seen by many in the country as a prompt address of the Swiss government to these claims.

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