The Swiss Parliament deliberated on the new draft of a revised gaming law in two sessions taking place on 1 and 15 March 2017. One of the main topics of discussions has been online gaming licenses, which will only be granted to operators terrestrial Swiss casinos.
Legislators agree that foreign operators would not be allowed to offer any online gaming services in Switzerland. Also, it shall not be possible to acquire a pure online concession.
Only holders of a licence for a land based casino will qualify to apply for an online gambling concession. Moreover, in order to be able to extend an existing terrestrial concession to online gambling services, the applicant will have to establish the commercial viability of the planned service.
Another point of the draft Money Gaming Act is that suppliers to operators will not need licensure. However, suppliers will need to provide their services to licensed operators. In order for the Swiss authorities to approve such collaboration, the Swiss operator will need to provide evidence that its foreign supplier has “a good reputation”.
The Parliament decided to block the access to foreign online gaming providers on a technical level. The technical measure being discussed is the implementation of IP-Blocking by Internet Access Providers. This issue was heavily disputed given that the proposed technical blocking measure strongly interferes with personal rights and restricts the rights of individuals to freely access the internet.
As proposed by the Federal Council, the Parliament decided that all money games shall be exempted from taxation. One argument was that the net profit arising out of a night spent at the casino shall not be determined and that therefore, it is practically impossible to tax such gains.
The new Money Gaming Act will now go back to the Council of States for deliberation of the open issues. As soon as a final agreement on all aspects of the new Money Gaming Act is reached, it will be published in the Swiss Federal Gazette. It is believed that the new regulations are unlikely to enter into force prior to 2019 or 2020.