Swiss Money Gaming Act Legalizes Online Betting

Published Wednesday, October 11, 2017 -
Swiss Money Gaming Act Legalizes Online Betting

Although it took many years to change the outdated Swiss gambling laws to include the digital age there is still some doubt that the recent new legislation will go ahead as planned. The old laws regarding gambling made no mention of the use of the internet for betting which created a window of opportunity  that offshore gambling services and product providers took advantage of by offering their wares to Swiss punters.  

Replacing the ancient 1923 and 1998 gambling rules the new Money Gaming Act passed by the government will take in both terrestrial and virtual betting for real money. Almost three years of discussion and debate the Money Gaming Act or Geldspielgesetz has finally passed into law, effectively legalized online casinos with some limits.  

One of the limitations for the online sector in Switzerland is that only operators with a Swiss land based presence will be allowed to run the websites. The finalized Money Gaming Act will be more specific in its compliance requirements.

There is a problem stirring with the rules however, calling for the censorship of non compliant offshore operators by internet service providers even though there will be compensation provided by the government. Opposition came as expected from SWICO (Swiss Association for Information, Communications and Organization Technology) with claims the action could be harmful to Switzerland’s digital economy.  Taxation rates were also changed with the legislation stating that only winnings from lotteries and sports wagers over CHF1 million will be taxed, and there will be no tax on cash prizes from terrestrial casinos.

Opposition is growing from youth who are from the Green Liberal Party, the Swiss People’s Party, and the Free Democratic Party. They are collectively organizing a referendum to overturn the Act, maintaining the internet censorship violating internet freedom. A short window of one hundred days is afforded the group which requires 50,000 signatures to initiate a referendum to overturn the Money Gaming Act.  




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