Switzerland faces long road to gambling coherence

Switzerland faces long road to gambling coherence

Thursday, July 19, 2018 Posted by Michael Lawson
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Relaxing Swiss gambling laws won't be a simple process

Speaking at iGB Live in Amsterdam, Dr Simon Planzer, Partner of Planzer Law, has detailed the complexities of revamping the gambling laws of the Swiss Confederation.

Maintaining a population of 8.5 million, with the world’s richest median income per adult, Switzerland should be considered a dream proposition for all industry incumbents.

However, Switzerland maintains stringent laws on all forms of gambling, combined with severe internet IP restrictions on access to betting services, which have limited operator movements.

Though the Swiss government seeks to revamp its digital gambling framework through the approved mandate of the ‘Money Gaming Act’, any progress of developing a liberalised market is hindered by the divided Swiss Canton legislative framework.

Whilst the government has agreed to revamp the nation’s online gambling laws, the majority of Swiss insiders believe that the Money Gaming Act’s mandate will be fulfilled by 2019.

However, Planzer believes that this is could be optimistic, stating that he believes that the MGA mandate could be stretched to 2020.

At present reading, the Swiss government will seek to implement a highly monitored ‘ring fenced regime’ for the existing land-based casinos, appeasing the legislation of Switzerland’s 26 Cantons.

Requirements will dictate that all gambling operators seeking to service the Swiss market will have to be certified directly by the Swiss government.

Furthermore, the Swiss government will likely implement tighter internet restrictions on IP blocking, marketing and banking transactions to limit the exposure and services of unlicensed remote operators.

At a consumer level, Parliament agreed a compromise last September, which saw the limit of tax free winnings on both lotteries and sports bets rise from its previous CHF1,000 ($1,040) to CHF1 million ($1.029 million).

Limiting tax free winnings has divided Swiss Parliament MPs, as critics believe that the government will decrease its revenue channels, which will be used to provide services for the Swiss people such as treatment for people with a gambling addiction.

On the subject of taxation, Planzer details that this is considered a ‘delicate issue’ for Swiss stakeholders. At present GGR is set to start at a base level of 20%, in line with the majority of European jurisdictions.

However, the government has moved to adopt a series of incremental tax charges, rising from 20% for the first CHF3m (US$3m) of revenues to 40% GGR up to CHF10m, capping out at a maximum 80% rate for every further CHF1m.

Totally Gaming says: As a confederation Switzerland has not revamped any of its digital codes since 1993, making legislative processes more complicated. Facing a tough legislative transition, its appears a long road before any industry stakeholders can deem Switzerland a real market prospect.  


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