Swiss Gambling Reform Vote Shows Majority Want New Laws
Swiss voters recently voted on a new gambling law and the results showed that the majority were widely in favour of the new law being passed.
According to the final results, 72.9 percent of voters agreed with the law, though some felt that some parts of it were equal to online censorship. This is because one of the main components of the law is to ban foreign gaming operators from offering their services to Swiss citizens.
The law, which will take effect in 2019, is very strict. The main idea behind it is to only allow Swiss-certified casinos and gaming firms to operate in the country. The two houses of Swiss parliament have already passed the legislation. This new law has two parts to it. First, it will allow Swiss companies to start offering online gambling services. The second is that it will block out all foreign betting sites in the country.
The reason for this law is to enact stricter rules to control gambling in the country, which would be easier to implement with all the companies being inside the country. It would also help tackle the problem of gambling addictions, with the local network being able to lock down known gambling addicts from participating in online gambling.
Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga also mentioned that this new law would provide a big boost to the government's tax revenues. The money would be used to help fund various government services as well as anti-gambling measures.
SWI swissinfo.ch – English
No More Foreign Betting Websites
Experts estimate that foreign betting sites rake in around 250 million Swiss francs every year. Once the new law comes into effect, they will be banned and this untapped revenue will then be available to local operators. This looks like a win-win situation for Switzerland and local gaming operators.
However, there has been a noisy campaign against the law since it was first announced.
According to Luzian Franzini, the co-president of the Greens' youth group, this law sets a legal precedent that may allow the Swiss government to block the sites that they want. Additionally, critics of the new law, state that tax revenue benefits are not that big since the threshold for taxation has been raised to 1 million francs. They also say that it gives local casinos an unfair advantage, protecting them from foreign competition.
The Swiss gambling industry has become a big business, with a lot of money being spent at the 21 licensed Swiss casino and gambling operations in the country. Thanks to a 2012 constitutional amendment, the equivalent of $1 billion in gambling tax revenue goes to a variety of civil projects and the state's pension fund. A variety of cultural, sports, and social organizations benefit from these taxes and the increased revenue would be a big boost to them.
Carolyn is our legislation expert, with a background in law she is able to cover the current state of gambling around the world