Legislation has been proposed by the government of Switzerland to authorize online gambling services within the country. According to recent reports, legislators are considering allowing the land-based casinos of Switzerland to offer online gaming.
It was on Wednesday that legislators submitted a new bill that would allow an operator of a land based casino to offer online gambling services. Switzerland currently has 21 casinos, which could essentially create a large online gambling industry. However, despite the new legislation, the option would not be legalized until 2019 based on the language of the legislation, a date that the Swiss Federation of Casinos feels is far too late.
Online gambling has been considered for many years now in Switzerland, with criticism continually handed down to operators like Bwin.party who offer services in the area without consent from the government. With the new legislation, any international operator would have their IP addresses blocked.
The new legislation has a punter-friendly clause included which would exempt gambling winnings from taxation. This would include lottery wins. Both the lottery and sports betting that currently takes place with land based facilities are taxed, however casino winnings are exempt from taxation.
The casino industry of Switzerland is open to the proposal for online gambling since profits are down in the industry by 30% over the past 8 years. Casino interests do feel that members should be allowed to enjoy a variety of online gaming including poker, lottery and sports betting.
With the tax exemptions, it is believed the country would lose 120m Swiss francs each year, which is equal to $123.3 million in US currency. To make up for the shortfall, the government will have to ensure that new gambling options would be able to attract punters, according to casinos.
With the game of poker, players would be able to enjoy the game outside of a casino if only low buy-ins are present and the total stake is returned to the player. Legislation does not say what a low stake actually is and if the limit were too low, illegal games would most likely still take place.