Online gambling, hitherto illegal in Switzerland but in a ban rarely enforced, could be legalised as early as next year according to reports in Swiss media.
Although the Swiss economy has weathered the economic recession in Europe better than most, land casinos in the independent country are feeling the pinch as internet gambling flourishes and cross-border Italian punters stay at home due to the critical financial situation in Italy, reports The Business Standard.
Swiss land casinos suffered an 8 percent drop in revenue in 2012 to 757 million Swiss francs ($800 million), according to the Federation of Swiss Casinos, with not a single one able to maintain revenue at the previous year’s level.
The situation, and a 2009 review of the Swiss gambling industry by the Federal Gaming Board, may be the motivation for government’s decision to revisit the online gambling ban and instead adopt a regulatory and licensing approach.
The Gaming Board recommendations were that online gambling should be strictly regulated, supported by real and active enforcement.
Following a constitutional amendment passed in March 2011, Swiss Department of Justice officials are reportedly working with the various Swiss cantons (provinces) on a draft which is scheduled for consultation and review later this year, hopefully leading to the introduction of a liberalised online gambling market in Switzerland.