Gambling Laws in Switzerland
Gambling in Switzerland is considered legal in all its forms. The main documents that first legalized gambling activities were the Federal Act on Games of Chance and Casinos from 1998, and the Swiss Lottery Act for the lottery and betting.
Article 106 of the Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation also constitutes a legal framework for gambling, distinguishing between casino games, lotteries and sports betting. It also provides the Cantons with legal power to grant licenses and supervising “gambling activities that are available to an unlimited number of people, are offered at more than one location and which as based on the same random draw or a similar procedure; the foregoing does not apply to the jackpot systems in casinos”, “betting on sports”, and “games of skill”.
From January 2019, all gambling will be regulated by one act only, the Money Gaming Act (MGA) and supervised by the Swiss Federal Gaming Board (SFGB). This brought important changes, as now land-based companies can apply for a license to operate online gambling sites in Switzerland. The new act also allows the possibility to block the IP address to foreign websites if they offer their services to Swiss players.
Is Online Gambling Legal in Switzerland?
Yes. All forms of online gambling are legal in Switzerland, according to the Money Gaming Act.
Online Casinos in Switzerland
Since January 2019, when the new MGA was enforced, land-based casinos are eligible to apply for a license to offer online casino games. Even though the market is not open to international operators, Swiss gamblers are still able to access foreign online casino sites that offer a wider variety of games and better online casino promotions and online casino bonuses.
Online Poker in Switzerland
Online poker sites in Switzerland became legal under the MGA. However, the new law strictly restricted the organization of online games to Swiss operators only. The only exceptions are under Article 18, that states that it is possible to collaborate with a foreign company, but only if it proves to have a “good reputation” and under the SFGB supervision. This is the case of PokerStars, the largest poker room in the world.
Online Lottery in Switzerland
Before the new MGA, that legalized online gambling in Switzerland, the lottery, along with betting, was the only exception that was allowed by the cantons to offer Internet-based services.
This way, Loterie Romande and Swisslotto have been developing their online services for a while now and even under the new legislation, they will remain the sole entities to run online lotto in Switzerland.
Online Bingo in Switzerland
Until the MGA, bingo was governed by the Federal Act on Lotteries and Commercial Betting and only allowed on a small scale under cantonal authority. Now, the new legislation has also regulated online bingo sites in Switzerland and players can legally play on platforms offering the game.
Online Sports Betting in Switzerland
Upon the new MGA, online sportsbook sites in Switzerland also became legal, though they will remain a duopoly run by Swisslos and Loterie Romande. As the offer will still be limited, bettors will still feel the need to access international platforms that offer them better odds and more sports to bet on.
Online DFS in Switzerland
Online DFS sites in Switzerland are not legally regulated. There is an ongoing debate on the status of this type of game, but considering the legality of online sports betting in the country it is very probable that Daily Fantasy Sports would soon become legal in Switzerland.