Swiss National Council approves casino igaming licences

7 June 2019

The Swiss National Council, the Bundesrat, has approved igaming licence applications from four of the country's land-based casinos.

Grand Casino Baden, Casino Davos, Grand Casino Luzern and Casino Zürichsee applied for the licences to extend their gaming services online in Switzerland last year. This comes after a national referendum ratified igaming laws passed by Swiss lawmakers in June last year. 

Swiss gambling regulator Eidgenössische Spielbankenkommission (ESBK) has already approved each venue's application, but had to secure the Swiss National Council's permission before it could formally award the licences.

ESBK will now oversee the process of issuing the new licences, with the aim of distributing all permits before the end of June.

Some 73% of voters approved the new Gambling Act in a national referendum last June, following debate over a controversial measure to grant authorities the power to have internet service providers block access to unlicensed sites.

This legislation came into effect in January of this year, but unlicensed sites will not be blocked until next month. ESBK is yet to receive applications from any other casino in the country.

Operators that secure a licence will be permitted to offer services such as poker and roulette, but face strict measures on maximum sums for poker tournaments, small lotteries and raffles.

Small poker tournaments will be subject to a maximum single entry fee of CHF200 (£159/€179/$203), while the limit of total entry fees will be set at CHF20,000. Limits for lotteries and raffles will depend on the size of the lottery.

The Stars Group said in March it is targeting a partnership with a Swiss casino, having temporarily suspended its casino and shuttered its sports betting offering in the country until such a deal is agreed.

Swiss Casinos, which operates the Casino Zürichsee in Pfäffikon, has partnered with Playtech ahead of its expected online launch.

Image: Max Pixel