Switzerland Online Casino Guide

Gambling Industry Overview in Switzerland

The following approaches will be presented

  • Gambling legislation in Switzerland
  • Gambling authorities in Switzerland
  • Online casinos in Switzerland
  • and more

Flag of SwitzerlandAny kind of gambling operations have been banned on the territory of Switzerland for the greater part of the 20th century. All forms of such operations were prohibited in the country with a law passed by the country’s Government in 1921.

No matter that gambling activities are relatively new in Switzerland, a great number of citizens recognize it as a favorite pastime. More than 50% the Swiss citizens take part in the country’s national lottery on a regular basis. Considering the fact that casinos, poker and sports betting are completely legal, the industry is expected to become even more popular.

Overview

As mentioned above, the country has prohibited gambling in 1921, and the ban was active until 1993. Even the new legislation, which was then implemented, did not manage to overturn the official restriction fully, because it only permitted limited-stakes casino gambling.

Several years later, in April of 2000, unlimited stakes gambling was permitted by the Federal Law on Games of Chance and Casinos. This happened for the first time in about 80 years. In addition, according to Swiss gambling laws, games were divided into two categories called games of skill and games of chance. Only games of chance were allowed to be played in Switzerland-based casinos.

Up to date, there are 19 casinos located over the territory of Switzerland. There are also 11 horse racing tracks.

The national lottery stayed illegal under the terms of the laws of 1921, but the cantons (provinces) in Switzerland were allowed to organize individual state lotteries.

Relevant Legislation

Gambling Legislation in SwitzerlandAccording to Swiss laws, there is a federal and a cantonal supervisory regulators that take care of the proper implementation of the local gambling legislation.

Cash gambling games of luck are put under the supervision of the Swiss Federal Gaming Board (SFGB), which operates as an independent public authority board, which is also part of the country’s federal Department of Justice and Police. The Gaming Board holds regulatory functions when it comes to overseeing casinos and supervising their compliance with the Federal Act of Games of Chance and Casinos of 1998. SFGB is also the authority that makes a decision whether a game shall be classified as a game of chance or a game of skill.

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The Swiss Federal Council is the authority that is responsible for issuing casino licenses. It also determines the total number of licenses that may be issued, as well as their period of validity.

On the other hand, the cantons and the Intercantonial Lottery and Betting Board supervise the betting and lotteries. The Betting Board was officially established in 2006 as the global licensing and supervising authority for betting and lottery establishments on the territory of the country. The evaluation of the licence applications is carried out by the Board.

Games of luck are subjected to article 106 of the Federal Constitution, which sets a difference between two types of gaming – casino gambling and lotteries. Up to date, the Federal Gambling Act is the main federal law related to casino and gambling regulation on the territory of the country.

Only legal entities are granted with casino licenses under public law. Up to date, licenses can be issued to co-operatives organized in accordance with the local law in case that their members have primarily resided in Switzerland. Licenses are also granted only if the applicant has enough capital, as well as good reputation and is able to provide guarantees for a proper business.

When it comes to issuing a lottery license, such permissions may only be granted to corporations and public-law institutions, associations of individuals and foundations. All such lottery providers are required to have their primary address on the territory of the country.

Under the provisions of the Swiss law, there are two kinds of casino licenses:

Licences for casino location
Such licences are only granted in case that the application is backed by the appropriate canton and local community, and if some evidence for the economic benefit of planned casino facility for the region is proved by the applicant.

Operation licences
This type of licences are issued only if the independence of the management and proper supervision of the gaming operation is guaranteed by the applicant. In addition, the latter is also required to present a security and social security concept, as well as a business security plan.

Online Gambling

Internet Gambling in SwitzerlandNevertheless casino and gambling operations in Switzerland are rapidly gaining popularity, the same does not imply to online gambling. Web-based casino gaming operations is not allowed by the Swiss Government up to date. However, there is absolutely no piece of legislation in order to enforce the prohibition.

This is the reason why online gambling operations are still carried out. Millions of euros are spent on Internet gambling on an annual basis by the local citizens.

According to country’s law, Swiss players are not allowed to bet on local casino websites, which is why they must use foreign online gambling websites in order to play. There is a great variety of such websites for the players to choose from, and the best part is that Swiss banks normally do not have any problems when moving funds to and from online casinos to players’ gambling accounts.

However, the fact that online gambling and casinos are illegal within the country, this is probably about the change. The Government of the country is looking to implement proper regulation to the online gaming market. Without proper regulation, the Government is not able to enforce the online gambling ban in the country, which is why local citizens are now able to find a way to access such websites.

Currently, there is a movement that is primarily focused on legalization and regulation of online gambling, including online poker activities. However, the Swiss Government is currently working out the details of the online gambling regulation. Such actions of regulation are expected to increase the overall tax revenues. If the legislation of online gambling activities is officially finished, Switzerland-based players will be allowed to bet on licensed websites.

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