Switzerland Reaches a Litmus Test for RegulationPublished October 29, 2015 by Lee R
Switzerland Federation of Casino members would like the process accelerated.
While the EU authority is firmly in support of online gambling regulation, each country has their own set of ethics and legal mechanisms through which the individual state's process of regulating online gambling must run.
The Alpine Challenge
Some countries have yet to define their policy towards online gambling, resulting in numerous delays in the legislative process. One of those countries is Switzerland, where a series of recent events have brought attention, and hope, back to the sovereign state for regulation in the near future.
At this point, a new proposal to Swiss legislators for terrestrial casinos to offer online casinos and gambling appears to be gaining traction.
The proposed legislation would come into effect around 2019, which is according to the twenty one land-based casino operators in the Swiss Federation of Casinos understandably “far too late” to get the country up to speed on internet betting.
The Current Climate
Switzerland currently regulates gambling through taxation of lottery and sports betting winnings, with casino winnings still exempt. The new proposal maintains that status quo for now, with offshore online gambling service providers subject to controversial IP blocking practices which could cut Swiss players off from online gambling entirely, in a country where casinos like Gaming Club Casino, bet365 Casino and Casino Cruise are already wildly popular.
Efforts for Change
Ongoing lobbying efforts to expand player pools and increase taxable revenues for the Swiss government focus on expanding the allowed offerings of the Swiss Federation of Casinos to include poker, lottery, and sports betting. This comes in response to
a thirty percent fall in revenues from gambling activity for the Swiss gambling industry.
The suggestion for expansion of offerings certainly contributed to the inclusion in the proposed legislation of the permission of low buy-in poker games in spots other than casinos if the total stakes are returned to players. Economically speaking, the benefits of this legislation are questionable, because higher stakes players comprising the large majority of the market may go elsewhere, which would lower the volume of usage fees.
Switzerland will likely have to seek a model of regulation that is implementable far sooner than 2019, or reject online regulation entirely. In light of EU policy favoring regulation, the former seems more likely than the latter.