Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, if a central European federal republic consisting of 26 cantons. It borders Germany to the north, Austria and Liechtenstein to the east, Italy to the south, and France to the west. One of the most developed countries also ranks as one of the wealthiest, most prosperous, and most progressive nations in the world, well known as the birthplace of the Red Cross and home of traditional banking and great chocolate.
As of July 1, 2019, Switzerland is also recognized as regulated iGaming market.
While land-based casinos have been made legal back in 2000, the online gambling legalization is the latest legislative addition governing proclivities of iGamers it this Alps country.
In general, the games’ landscape consists of three separate groups: land-based casinos, lottery/betting, and online gaming.
Previously governed by separate legal acts — the Federal Act on Games of Chance and Casinos (FGA), and The Federal Act on Lotteries and Commercial Betting (SLA) with iGaming banned — as of January 1, 2019, all gambling activities are regulated by the Money Gambling Act(MGA).
The MGA is the outcome of the joint effort of two chambers of the Swiss Parliament which worked together on the draft in existence since 2014, as well as the voice of Swiss voters which overwhelmingly (72.9%) supported it.
Short of creating single regulation aegis, the MGA delivers notable changes to Switzerland gambling market — it abolishes iGaming ban, introduces ISP blocking of foreign online gambling sites, legalize small-scale poker tournaments and institutes a higher non-taxable wins threshold for games played outside casinos, and implement new measures for player protection.
Key regulatory bodies are the Swiss Federal Gaming Board, the Intercantonal Betting Board, and the Federal Gaming Commission.
Enjoying in rich gambling history which dates back all the way to the Roman Empire — marked with on-again, off-again legislation for centuries — the last twenty years of land-based casinos operations provided for thriving success in a legalized environment.
Brick and mortar gambling houses scene consist nowadays of 21 casinos operating in Zurich, Bern, Basel, Lucerne, Baden, St. Moritz, to name only a few.
Operated with customary precision and hospitality, Swiss land-based casinos offer classic table games like roulette, blackjack, baccarat, and poker, plus omnipresent slots and all usual promotional gadgets like daily cash games, poker tournaments, and measured dose of fun available to all visitors of 18 years of age or older.
When it comes to lotteries and sports betting, Switzerland practices duopoly with Swisslos and Loterie Romande as the only operators.
With the Money Gambling Act kicking in on July 1, 2019, the iGaming market in Switzerland enjoys in usual balanced approach common to worldwide legalization efforts taking place in the last couple of years.
What makes it peculiar, though, is the clause stipulating that only existing holders of a terrestrial casino license can offer online games. This is important since it means the MGA does not allow foreign operators to enter the Swiss market. Those who try shall be blacklisted and websites will be blocked by internet service providers.
In addition, the MGA in effect establishes Swiss online jurisdiction providing licenses for iGaming operators in the fully regulated gambling market.
The Federal Gaming Commission (ESBK) is in charge of supervision of all online casinos in every canton.
Particularly focused on providing patrons with effective means to suppress addiction — this segment was, in fact, the single contributing factor to numerous prohibitions in the past — the MGA institutes stronger measures in place by raising the responsibility bar of both the cantons and gaming providers.
Regions are obliged to set up counseling facilities to prevent gambling problems. Casinos and operators of large-scale games are to instill proper safeguarding measures, including firm control of the distribution channels for the respective games.
The MGA also contains a number of provisions looking to secure transparent gaming operations, particularly against manipulation of data and sports competitions.
While it appears that the Money Gambling Act and overall opening of Switzerland market to iGaming will be just another presentation of customary efficiency and precision, we will have to wait for the final test of time — the best possible evaluator — although it is indeed the pleasure to see this country joining the ranks of other nations embracing legalized online gambling.
As always, do your own diligence and empower yourself with useful information before you make your final decision, play responsible, within the limits of your budget, and have a stroke of good luck! In case you win, don’t miss the opportunity to treat yourself with great homemade chocolate.
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