Swiss Parliament Says Yes to Locally Licensed Online Casinos

Published October 16, 2017 by Brett C

Swiss Parliament Says Yes to Locally Licensed Online Casinos

The Money Gaming Act (MGA) has been passed by the Swiss Parliament, paving the way for full licensing and regulation of local operators for land-based casinos and online casinos!

In a stunning reversal of decades-old policy, Switzerland has drafted new legislation known as the Money Gaming Act. The MGA has authority over online gambling and bricks and mortar gambling activity in Switzerland. This new legislation puts an end to 3 years of fiery debate. Now that the Geldspielgestz (Money Gaming Act) has passed, Swiss players get to enjoy fully legalized online casino gambling and land-based gambling.

The MGA replaces antiquated legislation from 1923 and 1998, which failed to provide instructions for foreign-based online casinos vis-à-vis Swiss players. The shortcomings of the old legislation have been addressed with specific regulatory constructs in the Money Gaming Act. Only bricks and mortar Swiss casinos will be allowed to operate online casinos in Switzerland.

This legislation is strikingly similar to the legislation passed by the New Jersey DGE, back in 2013. Once the Money Gaming Act kicks in, it will be implemented by 2019. Until then, land-based casinos will have an opportunity to establish online casinos, poker rooms and sports betting with geolocation tracking technology, and age verification security protocols.

Swiss Players Get a Big Tax Break

Foreign-based operators attempting to lure Swiss players, or provide their services to Swiss players will immediately be blacklisted. Legislation is likely to include key clauses allowing foreign-based companies to partner with Swiss companies to offer their online gambling services to the local population in Switzerland. Players are in for a surprise, given that only winnings higher than Fr.1 million will be taxed for sports betting and lottery wins. Additionally, cash winnings from land-based Swiss casinos will not be subject to taxation.

As one of the most progressive pieces of gambling legislation, the Money Gaming Act will make it easier for players to enjoy their good fortune at land-based casinos, sports books and lottery operators. Further liberalization of Swiss gambling laws is expected to take place with poker. Private poker games may soon be permissible outside of land-based casinos. An increasing portion of tax revenues collected from casinos will be allocated to worthy charitable initiatives.

Blowback from Opponents of the MGA

As with any controversial legislation, the MGA also has its opponents. Despite making it through rigorous debate and the Swiss Parliament, several groups are firmly opposed to the MGA. These include a contingent of The Swiss People’s Party, the Green Liberal Party, and the Free Democratic Party.

Their opposition is not to online gaming; it is to the MGA’s restrictions on foreign-based operators providing their services to Swiss players. A referendum could get underway if 50,000 signatures are collected. As it stands, majority consensus supports legalized online gambling in Switzerland, but many folks want greater variety from foreign-based operators.

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