Switzerland has a detailed provision for gambling. These regulations act as a framework which defines the limitations of gambling, the requirement on gambling, and the types of legal and illegal gambling within the country. This article will highlight the different frameworks which govern and control gaming in Switzerland. At the same time, the stance on online, offline, and cryptocurrency gambling will also be evaluated.
Types of Legal and Illegal Gambling in Switzerland
There are several types of gambling in Switzerland. Most of the legal gambling types are offline. These include:
• Gaming Machines
Stance on Offline Gambling in Switzerland
In Switzerland, most of the games listed above are legalized as long as they are carried offline. The gaming companies should also meet the necessary legal and licensing requirements in order to operate. The Swiss Federal Gaming Board (SFGB) is the body vested with the power to supervise all gambling in the country. Though the licensing of these games are done by the Swiss Federal Council, the regulation and compliance issues are enforced by SFGB.
Stance on Online Gambling
The online gaming regulations are quite tight in Switzerland. Carrying out online gaming within the jurisdiction of Switzerland is illegal. This includes all activities which would facilitate online gaming. Such activities could include the provision of the gaming server, financing such undertakings, or even carrying out advertisements to endorse such online gaming.
However, the citizens are free to access online gaming facilities outside the jurisdiction of Switzerland and still carry out online betting. The law on online gaming does not have a provision restricting its citizens from accessing online games which are hosted by companies outside the country.
Interestingly, Switzerland has an allowance for foreign companies to set up their online gaming facilities within Switzerland and also organize its operations within the country. This implies that subject to the legal requirements, such online companies can set their headquarters in Switzerland and use Swiss banks to carry out the necessary transactions.
Stance on Cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin Gambling
Although Switzerland has been on the forefront in backing cryptocurrency development, this has not made the country to relax its rules on cryptocurrency related gambling. Since cryptocurrency gambling falls under online gambling, the same rules which apply to online gaming still apply to cryptocurrency gaming. Therefore, it is illegal to carry out cryptocurrency gambling in Switzerland.
Regulatory Authority and Important Laws
There are several regulatory bodies which have been established to oversee gaming in Switzerland. These authorities include:
• The Swiss Federal Gaming Board (SFGB) - This body is tasked with regulating the activities of the licensed gaming companies.
• Swiss Federal Council - This body issues gaming licenses to companies which would wish to get into the gambling business.
• Comlot - This in an intercantonal body which was established by the cantons to control gaming within the cantons. Switzerland has 26 Cantons and they form the member states of the Swiss Federal Government. According to the Swiss Federal Constitution, these cantons are sovereign and thus have their own systems of governance. This intercantonal body (Comlot) was established in 2006 and it assesses gambling compliance within the cantons and issues licenses to gaming companies which would wish to operate within the cantons.
• Intercantonal Appeals Commission - This body serves as a neutral commission to ensure that justice is done to betting companies. The body only comes in when a betting company is not satisfied by the decision made by Comlot. Since each Canton is independent, the decisions made by Comlot and Intercantonal Appeals Commission cannot overrule the gaming prohibitions which have been put in place by individual cantons.
There are several laws which govern gambling in Switzerland. These laws are captured in the revised money gaming act. This act has provisions for online gaming, requirements for small-scale gaming undertakings, tax rules and also player protection framework.
This act also has the eligibility criteria for those who would like to participate in gaming. The act states that the players who would wish to participate in gambling should have at least an age of 18 years and also be of sane mind. Prohibitions are also applied to those who have earlier been suspended from casinos. The act also restricts the owners and those who have a reasonable stake in the gaming company from participating in gambling.
Switzerland provides a good platform for gaming companies to establish themselves. However, the laws and the regulations tend to favor local companies more than the foreign companies. This does not mean that foreign companies cannot profit from Switzerland’s gambling market. What is most needed is for companies to make effort and meet all the law requirements to be allowed to carry out gambling business within the country.