Online casino to be regulated in SwitzerlandInternet gambling may soon be legally available to players in Switzerland. This month, the Swiss federal government is to discuss a new draft online gambling bill. The question of legalising and regulating internet gambling in Switzerland has been under consideration for some time and it had initially been thought that the new gambling bill would be drawn up at the end of last year. Swiss gamblers tend to play online in online casinos in the neighbouring countries of Germany, France and Italy and at the moment the Swiss banks appear to be willing to deal with the financial transactions involved. When the Swiss online gambling industry is legalised the country will benefit from taxes imposed on the casinos.

Gambling illegal until 1993

A law passed in 1921 made all types of gambling illegal in the country. This law was only repealed in 1993 but online casinos are still banned. Switzerland’s 26 federal states or cantons regulate land based casinos and the draft of the new gambling bill would continue in this way with each canton being responsible for issuing licenses and for regulating their own online casinos. At the moment, there are 21 land based casinos in the country. The two most recent land based casinos were opened two years ago in Zurich and Neuchatel. Overall, land based casinos in Switzerland have been losing money for the past four years and revenue has been down by up to 8 per cent. Some blame this on competition from online casinos in other countries and also on the general downturn in the economy. To combat this decline and also to prevent unfair competition from outside online casino operators, the Swiss authorities plan to issue online gaming licences only to land based casinos already in existence in the country.

Tax Free Winnings

The draft gambling bill comes with several restrictions but these have not all been clarified. Under new legislation if the bill is passed, an online gaming commission would be set up but each canton would set its own regulations and issue its own licences to land based casinos. The draft bill also contains clauses dealing with the protection of young people and vulnerable people from possible problems associated with gambling. It also covers the areas of money laundering and fraud. One good piece of news for online players in the legal casinos is that their internet winnings will not be taxed. It is believed that new legislation could be in place in the first part of 2015.