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Switzerland to Legalize Online Gambling

- November 29, 2017 By Riley Wilson -

Money Gaming Act passes Parliament vote

Swiss government steps up efforts to legalize online gambling.

The much-needed and long overdue update of the Swiss gambling legislation is finally on the way.

According to the latest news from Switzerland, The Money Gaming Act, whose adoption will lead to a better regulation of the country’s land-based and online sector, has passed its final vote in the federal parliament.

Legalization and Better Regulation

The previous laws, adopted in 1923 and 1998 effectively banned online gambling but failed to provide any sort of legal mechanism to sanction those companies operating in neighboring jurisdictions.

The process of modernizing Swiss gambling legislation started two years ago, with proponents of the new law claiming the existing provisions offer no protection of consumers.

This situation will be changed with the adoptions of the new act, which will legalize online gambling, but restrict the legalization to those sides already operating a land-based casino.

The biggest and possibly the most important change will be the blacklisting of the international sites. This process will be conducted by Swiss internet service providers, which will have the duty to prevent Switzerland-based users from accessing those websites.

Grants and compensations for the process will be provided by the federal government.

100 Days for the Opponents

Youth organizations of the Free Democratic Party and the Green Liberal Party were the biggest opponents of the new law, mainly because of the restrictions imposed on websites based outside of Switzerland. They claim the new legislation breaches existing EU laws on free movement of business services and further restricts internet access.

It should be noted that the new law is very similar to gambling regulations in some of the neighboring countries, such as Austria, where the online gambling market is regulated by the country’s Ministry of Finance, and Lichtenstein, who legalized online gambling a year ago.

The opponents of the law have 100 days to present a petition against the proposal before it comes into effect in January 2018.

It should be noted the new law will influence lottery and sports betting as well, since it introduces a tax on all winnings of $1 million and above, although land-based casino winnings will be exempt from taxation.

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