Switzerland Wants to Legalize Online Gambling
When New Jersey voted to legalize online gambling, they captured the attention of the nation. Other states wanted to see how well they’d do, and if they did well enough, other states would make motions to legalize online gambling in other states. Well, it appears that New Jersey not only captured the attention of the nation, but they captured the attention of the world.
The Federal Council of Switzerland is debating an online gambling law. The current land-based gaming venues in the country would be eligible to apply for an online gaming license. Switzerland’s proposed plan has until August 20th to be decided. All online gambling winnings will be tax-free, and poker tournaments could be held outside of the land-based casinos, with further rules to be established later down the road.
This decision is an odd one, considering the Swiss Casino Federation issued a report blaming online gambling for the decline in the Swiss gambling industry. In 2012, Swiss casinos had an 8 percent drop in revenue, which totaled around $800 million.
Switzerland has a large variety of casinos. Casino Lugano, which is located in the city of Lugano, has 16 table games, one poker table, and more than 350 gaming and video poker machines. As you can imagine, the poker table could get pretty crowded. By offering the same games online, and enticing new visitors with a no deposit bonus, they’re opening the door for a massive amount of increased revenue. Poker is by far the most popular form of gambling, so allowing more people to play will only generate more revenue.
The bill has much larger implications, though. If Switzerland moves forward with this plan, other countries will get in on the action as well. Several other countries have already legalized online gambling, but certain rules set in Switzerland’s proposed law could change how online gambling is done in other countries, such as France and Italy.
The biggest challenge of the bill, perhaps, is the creation of the new intra-national regulatory body. The purpose of this regulatory body would be to “institutionalize the exchange of ideas and cooperation between the authorities of the Confederation and the cantons”.
It’s looking like this may actually happen, though. France and Germany’s casinos did suffer a decline last year, but it was nowhere near as bad as Switzerland’s loss. If Switzerland legalizes online gambling, there’s a strong chance that they’ll recoup their massive losses.
Meanwhile, here in the states, all eyes are on New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware. Many states are looking to gain the extra revenue that online gambling brings, including Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Iowa, Illinois, Hawaii, Mississippi, Massachusetts, Colorado, and California. Some of these states have tried to go forward with the legalization of online gambling, but they failed. In Mississippi, for example, state legislature failed to act on a bill in early 2014 that would’ve legalized online gambling. Nevada, which only allows poker to be played online, is considering expanding their online gambling law.
Thanks to these states and countries blazing a trail, we could see legalized online gambling in more states and countries by the end of the year.