Switzerland starts to issue iGaming licenses

Business News

Switzerland has elected to allow online casinos, though a newly approved law intends to keep foreign operations from sharing in the take.

Swiss voters have overwhelmingly voted well above rates suggested by early polling a measure already approved in Parliament to legalize certified Swiss online casinos, but require internet access providers to block all foreign betting sites: The new Gambling Act won the support of 72.9% of voters, according to final results, despite accusations that the law amounts to online censorship.

Due to take effect in 2019, the act, which will be one of the strictest in Europe, allows only Swiss-certified casinos and gaming firms to operate.The government says it is designed to tackle gambling addiction.

Both houses of parliament have already passed the legislation.

Swiss Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga argued that the bans are necessary to ensure compliance with the nation’s laws on gambling, such as rules requiring them to block known addicts. Sommaruga also alleged that gamblers in Switzerland pour about 250 million (around $254 million) into foreign gambling sites which pay no in-country taxes and thus do not contribute to anti-gambling programs.

Opponents said that the government could have instead offered incentives to companies that agree to be taxed, as well as “charge the new law will actually drain away revenues, since it raises the threshold for taxable winnings to over one million, compared with 1,000 EURO today,” AFP wrote. Additionally, they alleged that the referendum on the issue was being driven largely by big money from Swiss casinos, who stand to cash in big time from a prohibition on using the internet to place bets with their competitors.