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The Swiss are Looking to Regulate Online Gambling

By: Marica K, November 1, 2015
Swiss players will not have to pay tax on winnings.

Swiss players will not have to pay tax on winnings.

It seems that after years of attempts to legalize online gambling activity Switzerland is finally near a closure on this matter. Last week a draft bill on regulating online gaming was submitted and it is supposed to allow Swiss 21 brick-and-mortar casinos to offer their services online and sanction the international websites that target Swiss customers. This new law will have to wait for full enforcement but some changes will be in effect immediately.

The Ban Does Not Work

At present, internet gambling is illegal in Switzerland, but the government is working on changing this status. The existing law bans online gambling on paper but it is a slightly different matter in practice. Swiss players who wish to test their luck in a range of online games available,  are able to do so without any restrictions whatsoever, and since there are no Swiss online casinos, they reach out for international websites. This is an unfavorable position for both the government and land-based casinos, as they are leaving a large piece of the market for someone else to exploit. As a result, Swiss casino industry has suffered a 30% drop in profits in the last eight years. Therefore a new draft bill was submitted last week to deal with this situation and it is supposed to allow 21 land-based casinos to operate online and sanction unlicensed operators.

No Taxes for Winnings

The new law is supposed to regulate the online gaming market in such a way to keep the players and their money within the country. To that purpose they have decided to lift the taxes on players’ winnings which will represent an annual loss of around $120 million but it will, hopefully, attract more players. Lottery and sports betting will remain subject to taxation. In addition the new regulation is supposed to form a regulatory body which will be responsible for licensing, monitoring and for sanctioning unlicensed providers. Furthermore, private poker tournaments will also be legal in case they  are low-stake, even though the “low” limit is not precisely defined. Still, it will be years until this new law comes into effect. It will, reportedly be enforced in 2019. Until that time the Swiss will be allowed to gamble online legally, as the ban will be lifted.

 

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