Switzerland Getting Ready for a Referendum on New Gambling Law


Switzerland Getting Ready for a Referendum on New Gambling Law


May 25, 2018
Staff Writer
193
Land-based casinos enjoy preferred treatment in Switzerland

Foreign casino operators face serious problems in Switzerland.

Back in October last year, a new gambling law reached Swiss legislators, with a special focus on online gambling.

The proposal introduced big changes to the country’s existing legislation, including an increase in online taxes. Under its provisions, only those operators working together with Swiss brick and mortar casinos could receive the approval to offer their services to customers in Switzerland.

Delaying the Adoption of the New Law

In order to effectively enforce this new regulation, internet service providers were given the right to blacklist all those websites operating outside the law. 

The proposal would have passed the legislature without any problems whatsoever if it hadn’t been for the Free Democratic Party (FDP), whose youth wing collected the necessary number of signature to organize a referendum on this issue.

According to available information, the referendum will not stop the adoption of the new law, but will inevitably delay the whole process. GfS Bern has recently published the results of a survey, revealing that more than 50% of the respondents supported the new gambling law, with 38% being against it and 9% stating they were undecided at this moment or that they wouldn’t vote at the referendum.

A Big Problem for Foreign-Based Casinos

The proponents of the new gambling law are saying the only true opponents of the bill are gaming websites registered abroad. It’s true the increase in the already high taxes (which are the highest on the Continent) could be a significant blow for international casinos. The online tax rate will vary from 20% – for the income going up to $3 million, to 40% in cases where revenue exceeds $3 million.

The Swiss Federal Council is still debating over the increase of the tax rate, who will definitely be the biggest obstacle for operators interested in entering the market. The government said such a move was necessary to get more money for the state coffers, while the analysts predict up the country could earn up to $75 million.

The consultations between the representatives of the Federal Council and the interested sides are still in progress and are expected to be over by June 15.

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