Switzerland is a country in Western Europe that’s unique in that they are not part of the European Union. Nevertheless, the land-locked nation has signed hundreds of trade deals and agreements with the EU, some of which may come into play as the Swiss online gambling industry grows and evolves.
In this article, we’re going to give you a detailed look at gambling in Switzerland. We’ll focus on the most significant relevant laws, the country’s history with land-based and online gambling activities, and lay out which games and types of wagers are allowed. But first, let’s take a look at the best Swiss gambling sites.
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This guide is somewhat unique because Switzerland just recently passed a gambling statute that will have a drastic transformative effect on the domestic gaming industry. As of January 1, 2019, online gambling in Switzerland is officially a legal, regulated hobby, overseen by the Swiss Federal Gaming Board.
We’ll take a closer look at these impactful new regulations in later sections, but first, we must talk about the list of recommended Switzerland gambling sites shared immediately above. No matter which country you reside in or the ways in which you enjoy gambling, there are some core concepts you should always keep in mind when dealing with online wagering.
Some of these deal with finding value, managing a bankroll, and other vital beginner’s tips, but perhaps the most crucial factor is playing on the right gambling website. Let’s look at why we stress using only the best gambling sites in Switzerland before moving on to the nation’s specifics.
What’s So Great About These Switzerland Gambling Sites?
Online gambling is an industry that attracts hundreds of billions of dollars every year, which is why so many countries are moving to regulate and benefit from these activities in the form of tax dollars. Unfortunately, this much money changing hands also attracts rogue elements and unethical operators.
Finding a legitimate, high-quality place to play is the most critical task a new gambler must take for a positive online gaming experience. Our team of experts dedicates tons of time and effort to find the very best locations for our readers. The following attributes, amongst many others, are all required for any Swiss gambling sites that we recommend.
Saftey, Reliability, and Legitimacy
There’s nothing more important to us than ensuring our readers have safe, reliable, and legitimate gambling websites to choose from. For novice gamblers, finding a secure Swiss gambling site can be an intimidating decision, particularly when a bad pick can result in having large amounts of money stolen. The scam operations are often identical to most legitimate online casinos and sportsbooks – at least, to the untrained eye.
This is the primary reason we go to such great lengths to vet potential providers, laying out our results in an easy-to-use list of recommendations. You get nothing but the best locations to choose from without ever having to worry about being scammed. That way, you can focus your energy on the stuff that really matters: winning!
Variety of Banking Methods
Another variable that influences our rankings and recommendations is a Swiss gambling website’s slate of banking options. For the most part, we look for operations that can accommodate a wide variety of deposit and payout methods, including credit cards, bank accounts, cryptocurrencies, e-wallets, and more. The more transaction types a site can handle, the easier it is for our readers to utilize what’s most convenient for them.
However, while offering a variety of banking methods is preferred, there are exceptions to this rule. Some providers specialize in specific transactions and have the ability to complete those deposits and withdrawals faster than the industry average.
Excellent Customer Service Records
While we are only introducing you to the top Switzerland gambling sites, that doesn’t guarantee that nothing will ever go wrong. As such, you’ll want a website with excellent customer service, because there’s nothing worse than not being able to get your issue resolved in a timely manner due to an unresponsive help desk.
Our experts actually test gaming providers’ customer service departments as part of the review process. We verify that there’s an easy-to-find dedicated area where players can get help, with a few different ways to contact someone. Most online gambling sites in Switzerland will list an email address, phone number, and chat option. We try the various contact methods to make sure requests are answered promptly and in a helpful manner.
There are too many operators out there who use low withdrawal limits and ridiculous payout delays to avoid letting players cash out. This is often done in hopes you’ll grow bored and gamble the money instead. It may be a common practice, but it’s one we like to avoid for our readers. Our Swiss gambling websites will process payouts and deliver your money quickly.
Is Gambling in Switzerland Legal?
Yes, many forms of gambling are legal in Switzerland, both at land-based locations and online. However, the industry is tightly regulated, and only some gaming activities are permitted. Generally speaking, lotteries, sports betting (including races), bingo, poker, and casinos are all legal, though there are restrictions.
Gambling in Switzerland is governed both at the federal level and in individual cantons – which are what we would call “states” in the US. The Swiss federal government tends to oversee games of chance, like bingo, lotteries, and the table games you’d find in a casino.
Skill-based games are not included in the federal laws; they are regulated by the cantonal authorities instead. But keep in mind that there is some overlap with groups like the Swiss Federal Gaming Board. This regulatory body is an independent public board which monitors and enforces gambling laws at both levels.
As of January 1, 2019, online gaming is a legal and regulated market in Switzerland. Citizens were overwhelmingly in favor of legalizing gambling on the web, with the Gambling Act receiving support from nearly 73% of voters.
At the same time, they also voted to ban out-of-country operators from serving their residents and plan to have ISPs block access to the URLs. While the online Swiss gambling sites became legal at the start of 2019, the foreign ban will not go into effect until July.
Currently, there does not appear to be a plan in place to make exceptions for cross-border operations that are licensed in reputable EU states. Nevertheless, there are trade deals and agreements with neighboring countries that could blossom into allowing foreign competition in the Swiss market in the future.
Switzerland’s Regulatory Authorities
In Switzerland, there are a few regulatory bodies that are responsible for governing the gambling industry. In most cases, jurisdictions are divided based on the activities, which are divided into two groups: casino gambling, and betting and lotteries.
Swiss Federal Gaming Board (SFGB)
The Swiss Federal Gaming Board is an independent public authority charged with overseeing the country’s casinos and games of chance. They continually monitor both land-based and online operations for compliance with the most recent rules and statutes.
This group watches to ensure all games are fair and conducted in a secure and transparent manner. They also protect against money laundering and implement measures to minimize problem gambling within the Swiss communities, including prosecuting illegal online gambling. The SFGB is also responsible for assessing and collecting gaming taxes from the casinos.
Comlot was created in 2006 and acts as Switzerland’s “Intercantonal Lottery and Betting Commission.” This group is responsible for regulating the national lottery, all sports betting, and skill-based wagers. Not only are they tasked with monitoring their assigned markets and ensuring the Swiss laws are followed, but Comlot also handles licensing, both within the cantons and online.
This regulatory body must approve and license each game. A large part of their focus is on preventing youth gambling and protecting Swiss citizens from addictive or excess gambling. They also monitor operators to guard against money laundering and fraud, while ensuring they enact their own protective measures for players.
When the ban on foreign operators is enforced, Comlot will also be tasked with blocking access to their websites. Part of the new regulations is that only gambling sites in Switzerland are allowed.
There are 26 cantons in Switzerland. When it comes to gambling, each of these individual regions must choose to implement the federal acts. For this reason, there may be some areas without casino games or lotteries available. These local authorities will work with agencies like Comlot and the Swiss Federal Gaming Board to best serve the gambling interests of their community.
Significant Swiss Gaming Laws
Switzerland’s gambling industry is mostly dictated by just a handful of laws, the most recent of which – and arguably most significant – is the Money Gaming Act. After all wagering activities were prohibited back in 1921, the country has slowly relaxed their rules, culminating in 2018’s decision to allow for online gaming as well as previously outlawed games such as roulette and poker.
The Federal Act on Games of Chance and Casinos
In 1998, the Swiss government passed this law, which laid the framework for the country’s regulations with regards to casinos and games of chance. The act was passed with the intentions of increasing tourism, cutting down on organized crime and money laundering, and raising revenue for pensions and local governments.
Since the Federal Act on Games of Chance and Casinos was passed, Switzerland has seen gambling explode, with twenty land-based casinos now in operation throughout the nation. This law covers games without skill, where nothing the player does has a real impact on the outcome, despite being played for real money.
The Federal Act on Lotteries and Commercial Betting
This act was passed in 1923 and banned lotteries at the federal level, although the cantons retained the right to allow or restrict local variations.
The Money Gaming Act
In late 2018, Swiss citizens voted in overwhelming numbers to support legalizing online gambling. As of January 1, 2019, wagering over the internet is legal, but in July ‘19, foreign gaming operators will no longer be able to service the country. Switzerland’s gambling sites will be the only accessible options from within the borders without using a VPN.
Switzerland Gambling History
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the risks involved with using a foreign gambling site in Switzerland?
Does Switzerland tax winnings from gambling?
Who licenses the regulated and legal online gambling sites in Switzerland?
Owners of casinos will continue with whichever local licensing regime they were already following, though they can now apply to extend their services to the net. They’re then monitored by the Swiss Federal Gaming Board.