Switzerland Preparing to Enforce New Gaming Act from January 2019

Published November 25, 2018 by Mike P

Switzerland Preparing to Enforce New Gaming Act from January 2019

Switzerland is outlawing unlicensed foreign gambling operators from January 2019. In the future, operators must be licensed and based in Switzerland.

As reported in June 2018, Switzerland has voted to approve an online gambling bill that will be enforced in 2019. More recently, it has been announced that the Swiss Gambling Act shall officially commence from 1 January 2019. From that point onwards, online gambling shall be widely legalised in Switzerland.

However, there is a major exception with the fact that any foreign gambling operators that continue to serve Swiss residents beyond the cut-off date shall be outlawed from the marketplace. Moving forward, any operators will be required to have a presence in the country if they are to legally be approved to serve the Swiss online gambling market.

New Licences from July 2019

Foreign operators do have an opportunity to try and enter the Swiss market, with bans on unlicensed gambling sites only coming into effect from July 2019. For the first half of 2019, Switzerland’s Federal Council shall be reviewing applications for licences that will be handed out to successful operators from 1 July 2019.

As planned, the licensed shall be applicable to online casinos, poker sites, lotteries, and raffles. Any operators with pre-existing Swiss licences will also have the opportunity to start providing alternative gambling services, such as poker or raffles. Single poker entry fees will be capped at CHF200 [€175], while total entry fees will be CHF20,000 [€17,500].

Taking Back Control

This major action comes as the result of a June 2018 Swiss referendum in which approximately 73% of the electorate backed the change. Some politicians explained that the Swiss voters saw the referendum as an opportunity to fund national projects from revenue derived from online gambling.

A further concern stemmed from the fact that an estimated CHF250 million [€220 million] in revenue was being lost annually to foreign gambling operators. Moving forward, the Swiss are intent on ensuring that all gambling spend occurs within the country, with greater controls also implemented to help prevent problem gambling issues from growing.

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