Switzerland’s casinos say they haven’t been profitable since 2007 and to help stop the continued loss, want to add sports betting and lottery options.
The Swiss Federation of Casinos (SFC) released its annual report for 2015 this week. It showed the country’s 21 casinos combined gaming revenue fall from 4.1% year-on-year to CHF 681m (US $689m), according to CalvinAyre. Last year only eight casinos reported positive numbers, including Casino Barrière de Montreux and Swiss Casinos Zürich, marking eight consecutive years of year-on-year declines. Annual revenues have also fallen by one-third since peaking in 2007. A host of suspects are blamed by the SFC for the decline, including the euro’s weakness against the Swiss franc and the global financial crisis. The former has seen a reduction in cross-border traffic from gamblers in neighboring countries, Italy in particular.
However, other reasons for the losses, members are losing approximately CHF 300m annually, according to the SFC, is illegal gambling clubs, international online gambling operators and competition from casinos in other countries. For those reasons the SFC has demanded that the Swiss government revise its proposed gambling laws.
In October 2015, the Swiss government proposed legislation to authorize online gambling services within the country, allowing the country’s land-based casinos to offer online gaming versions of their table games and slots. However, despite the legislation, the changes won’t take effect until 2016. Therefore, the SFC is requesting that the government “urgently” implement the IP-blocking of international operators and their IP addresses to stop them from “distorting” local markets.
The SFC is also requesting that it be allowed to offer lottery and sports betting products. That, based on the belief by the SFC that only casinos can properly mitigate the potential harm that such products could cause. Lastly, the SFC doesn’t agree with plan of the draft legislation to allow low-buy-in poker tournaments beyond casinos. The SFC views that as an unwarranted attack of the monopoly it currently possesses.
Switzerland has considered online gambling for many years now, with operators such as Bwin.party, who offer services in the area without consent from the government, being continually criticized.