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New Swiss Gambling Bill Reaches Parliament

- October 12, 2017 By Riley Wilson -

Money Gaming Act finally set for Parliament hearing

Swiss government steps up efforts to legalize online gambling.

It looks like Switzerland is on the verge of a much-needed reform of the country’s gambling sector after the Money Gaming Act has finally reached Parliament.

It took it some time, though, since the bill has been in draft since 2014, and after all that time all eyes are on the Swiss legislators who will have the final word whether we’ll see it being enacted into law.

Replacing Outdated Regulations

If adopted, the Money Gaming Act would replace the country’s outdated regulations, which are consisted of two separate acts – Lotteries and Betting Act of 1923 and the Gambling Act of 1998.

Possibly the main reason this proposal took so long to get to the federal legislature was the fact it proposed equal taxation of all gambling sectors and not just sports betting and lotteries.

The solution was found before the proposal reached Parliament in the form of tax exemption rates for sports bets and lottery winnings. According to it, only those winnings over CHF1 were eligible for taxation by the Swiss government.

Legalizing Online Gambling

However, the most important update that the Money Gaming Act would bring to the Swiss gambling sector was the legalization of online gambling. The Act stipulates only domestic land-based providers can receive the license to operate online, while measures of protecting the market from unlawful operators include domain blocking and blacklisting.

Still, foreign-based suppliers will be able to offer their services to customers in Switzerland, but only if they “maintained a good reputation”. This means only those suppliers with no previous history of trying to bypass Swiss law would be allowed to enter the market.

There’s another way for foreign operators to reach Swiss consumers and that is through a partnership with local casinos, although there are no details on this matter.

The government made a compromise regarding poker tournaments. The new law will allow small-scale poker tournaments, although it’s not specified what does this term imply.

The Money Gaming Act would also offer the increased level of consumer protection, including the means to tackle fraud and underage online gambling.

If all goes as planned, the Money Gaming Act will come into force as early as 2019.

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