The Swiss senate rejected the popular initiative which called for all taxes and licensing revenues generated by all games of chance to be used ‘for the service of the common good.’ The Swiss Federal Government and the Cantons (state/province governments) are at odds as to who gets to decide how to spend the revenues earned from all games of chance.
Currently Swiss gambling laws direct all gambling revenues to be used exclusively to support the Swiss social ‘safety net’, comprising of: AHV (insurance that cover the basic needs of the elderly as well as provides long term financial assistance to widows) and IV (disability insurance.) According to analysts, the current revenue level generated from taxing gaming establishment is 200% above the benchmark needed to keep both AHV and IV solvent.
The populist initiative, which was signed by 170,000 citizens, called ‘for cash game (revenues to be used) in the service of the common good,’ and mandated the use of the remainder of the profits exclusively to benefit charitable activities ‘in culture, social affairs and sports.’ The initiative did not include language to authorize the creation of a Swiss internet casino industry.
The rejected initiative also proposed a division of responsibilities between the federal government and canton governments. The federal government was to be in charge of national lotteries and the cantons in charge of casinos and localized games of chance.
In a counter proposal, the federal government wants the safety net to be exclusively financed by the profits from casinos, while charities, sports, and social issues would be supported by lotto and all other gambling revenues. The counter proposal explicitly forbids internet gambling in all forms, and places the management of all gambling revenues under the federal government.