Under existing law in Switzerland, all forms of online gaming are currently prohibited for its residents. However, this ban is set to be lifted after new gambling legislation was drafted by the government which would see a dramatic reversal on the current law.
It is thought that the main reason behind the total change in thinking is the Swiss government’s anger over so much cash in gambling revenue leaving the country to the pockets of unlicensed, off-shore online gaming sites.
Should these motions be passed into law and the newly proposed regulatory body is formed, both Swiss and foreign online poker rooms would be able to register for a license to operate legally in the country.
This is particularly appealing to foreign operators because of Switzerland’s favourable income tax regime, which would also abolish tax on poker and gambling winnings for the players themselves.
The 21 land based casinos currently operating in Switzerland, which had been flourishing back in 2000 when the country legalised gambling for the first time in over a century, have been suffering recently as a result of the online gambling ban, and would potentially benefit from a second boom if virtual gaming was introduced into the equation.
Although it has yet to be officially announced, it is expected that any online operator applying for a licence would need to partner with one of the land based casinos, which is similar to the situation in the USA.
All forms of private and home poker games would also be permitted, having been outlawed after Texas Hold’em poker was ruled “a game of chance” by the Swiss government back in 2010.
We are sure that other jurisdictions will be watching the results with interest.