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Switzerland Prepares for Potential Regulation of Online Gaming

The Swiss Federal Council has announced plans to change the current online gambling laws under certain strict conditions. The governing body has consulted with federal and canton representatives as well as current national gaming operators to bring all real money gambling under a single regulatory body.

The Swiss government has opposed online gambling for many years citing fears that it would lead to losses in revenue for the current 19 land based casinos. In 1998, the Swiss government enacted legislation that banned all forms of online gambling, although it had no enforcement capability. After extensive research and a 2009 study on the effects of online gambling on land based casinos, the Swiss government has decided to change its stance and move towards regulation.

The Swiss Federal Council hopes to create regulations that will maintain the revenues of land based casinos while taking measures to prevent illegal gambling and minimize gambling addiction. This Council has preliminary plans to allow land based casinos to partner with international operators to secure gambling licenses, including poker exclusive ones. The Swiss government also hopes to place its current sports betting laws under this new legislation. Currently, Swisslos/Loterie Romande controls the monopoly on sports betting.

According to eGaming Magazine, a Zurich-based consulting group, Richterich & Partner, has formed the Online Gambling Association Switzerland to organize potential online gaming operators in anticipation of regulation. The Online Gambling Association Switzerland (OGAS) plans to communicate with Swiss government authorities to form a set of regulations for online gambling. Furthermore, the OGAS plans to aid operators in entering the market and provide updated information about the market.

Overall, Switzerland is expected to follow the Europe and United States wide regulation trend. Several countries and states have recently enacted regulations for online gaming over the past few years. Although success has varied, Switzerland plans to consult with other regulatory bodies to create an optimal set of regulations.

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