Switzerland Moves Forward With Online Gambling Legalization
Last week, we posted an article regarding Switzerland and the legalization of online gambling. With all eyes on the states in the US that are legalizing it, other countries are hesitantly moving forward. Over the past week, Switzerland went ahead and took the first steps toward legalizing it.
The bill, which was recently drafted, will allow land-based casinos to enable online gambling. Businesses will have the option of applying for extensions to their current casino license. The winnings will be tax free. It will allow for small poker tournaments and home games, but they must be held outside of the licensed casinos. What the bill doesn’t allow, however, is any online gaming companies outside of Switzerland. This is actually a key point in the bill. Groups that support this bill contend that if this bill has any sort of chance of being effective, all gaming companies outside of Switzerland must be blocked. By blocking gaming companies outside of Switzerland, they’re ensuring that all money spent on online gambling stays within the country.
If the bill passes, then all cantons in Switzerland will have to report to a new federal group, which will be responsible for regulating the industry. As mentioned, this bill is only a draft. There’s quite a ways to go before it’s passed. The bill is up for public debate until August 20th. During that time period, they can make any amendments to the bill that they want. After time’s up, they’ll put it to a vote.
This is a huge step for Switzerland, who have actually been looking to legalize online gambling for a while. Their hope is that by allowing sites to legally run, and perhaps entice customers by offering a no deposit bonus, they’ll generate extra revenue. The original bill was expected toward the end of 2013, but due to disagreements, was only just presented.
As expected, there’s many opponents of the bill. The Swiss Casino Federation is strongly opposed to it, warning against cowering to lobbying effects so they can sneak hidden taxes into the bill.
Another group is calling for online gambling profits to be taxed, stating that by not doing so, they’re enabling those with addiction problems. The Swiss Casino Federation disagrees, stating that taxes would be unfair to the players and unhelpful to addiction organizations.
Whatever ends up happening will be a landmark decision that will likely have an effect on other countries overseas. Meanwhile, stateside, New Jersey continues to experience errors with their implementation of online gaming, which is negatively impacting their bottom line. It’s still way too early for other states to make a decision based on the results in New Jersey.
This is a revolutionary time in the world of online gambling. Nearly two decades ago, online gambling was almost unheard of. As it grew in popularity, however, the demand of legalization became too loud to ignore. In just a few short months, it’s possible that the entire landscape of the gambling industry will change completely with the legalization of online gambling.