Gambling in Switzerland
The gambling law in Switzerland regulates the market. This determines the strict regulations that apply to both offline and online casinos in Switzerland. Every provider who wants a licence must comply with them or face being blocked by the Swiss. After all, not every platform is allowed to enter the Swiss market just like that. You probably already know this from other countries. Whenever the market is regulated, the providers have to apply for a licence and fulfil the conditions.
As a client, you can check whether there is a licence for the offer in Switzerland or not. But have you ever wondered what exactly happens when you play somewhere else? Can you simply play in any online casino on the internet or are there legal restrictions for you as well? We want to clarify this in our guide to Swiss gambling. After all, you should be able to have fun with the many slots and table games in a calm and relaxed manner. You can’t do that if you’re wondering all the time whether or not you’re legally allowed to gamble on the internet.
Development of gambling in Switzerland
Gambling in Switzerland has a long tradition and has always been popular. However, there was officially a constitutional ban on all gambling except lottery games from 1921 until 1993. Only then were new laws enacted that regulated limited stakes gambling in land-based casinos. However, online gambling remained banned until 2019.
Swiss players played in foreign online casinos but had no legal security. There was a ban, but it was not really prosecuted. The Swiss Federal Casino Commission (SFCC) is in charge of monitoring all land-based casinos. With the new law of 2019, they also have online casinos in their sights. Only those that comply with the rules and have a licence will be allowed to enter the market and accept Swiss customers.
Legal situation regarding Swiss online gambling
First of all, the Swiss Federal Casino Commission is responsible for the Swiss market. They issue the licences, regulate the market and control compliance with the strict regulations. The market is very popular and therefore many want to have a licence, but they are rarely granted. As a result, there are only a few providers in Switzerland with an official gambling licence. This is because all other platforms are prohibited from offering their games in Switzerland.
Not just any foreign casino can apply for a licence. This is because the requirements for obtaining an online casino licence include:
- The company must be based in Switzerland.
- Land-based casinos can apply for an extension of their licence.
- Games may only be played in licensed Swiss online casinos.
- The rules apply to casino games, lotteries and sports betting.
This means for all online casinos, they need at least one partner in Switzerland. So it happens that the land-based and online casinos enter into a cooperation and have a joint licence.
The law also made network blocking possible for the first time. This means that online casinos that are not regulated and licensed in Switzerland can be blocked. The SFCC has also created a blacklist of online casinos without a licence. If you call it up, you will automatically be redirected to a stop page. There you will be told that the site and the offer are not licensed. If you decide to play, you bear the full risk.
Licences from EU countries in Switzerland
In all EU countries, online casinos are allowed to offer their games even if they are licensed in another EU country. The most common licences are from the Malta Gaming Authority and the Gibraltar Gambling Commission.
However, Switzerland is not a member of the EU and therefore the licences have no meaning and are not automatically valid. In general, licences are always a good sign. Because the other regulatory authorities also have strict requirements the casinos must adhere to. Therefore, a licence always stands for seriousness and fair play. You will also find a high level of security with the providers and can fully concentrate on playing without having to worry.
Many online casinos have withdrawn from the market because of the new law. Especially the renowned providers did not want to jeopardise a licence or put their reputation on the line. Some were able to enter into a cooperation with the land-based casinos and have therefore obtained an official licence for their offerings in Switzerland. Therefore, they can legally allow Swiss players to play all casino games.
Consequences for Swiss players in online casinos
The legal situation is clear. It is only allowed to play in licensed online casinos. But what are the consequences if you play in a foreign casino? Playing in online casinos without a Swiss licence is not legal. So far, no players have been legally prosecuted for choosing another offer. The gambling authorities focus more on the platforms than on the players.
However, you must know that you play at your own risk. If you play at a casino without a Swiss licence, there is no legal framework. If there are problems with a payout or other discrepancies, you are on your own to sort them out.
We also advise you not to use a VPN in most online casinos to bypass the network lock. This is already prohibited in the terms and conditions of almost all providers. This can mean that you will not be paid out any winnings or that your player account will be deleted completely.
Taxes on casino winnings in Switzerland
Gambling is the most fun when you win and can pay out a nice prize. But is the tax office then immediately at your door? Taxes on gambling winnings are always a big issue. In Switzerland, however, winnings are tax-free and do not have to be declared.
But there is a restriction on the maximum tax-free amount. All winnings over CHF 1 million must be declared and also taxed. This is where the withholding tax becomes due. And this is a hefty 35% that you have to pay. Of course, with such a large profit there is still enough left for you to be happy about. But you must always remember that from this amount of profit onwards you must send a report to the tax office. Otherwise they will tax it backdated and that could be more unpleasant. Especially if you have already spent part of your winnings by then.
Legal online gambling in Switzerland
If you want to be on the safe side, you can also find legal gambling in Switzerland. This is only possible at online casinos with a Swiss gambling licence from the Federal Casino Commission. There are only a few providers who have been granted such a licence so far, but the offer on the sites is very extensive. Therefore, you should definitely find what you are looking for and find some of the exciting slots and table games that you like.
Here at gamblepilot.com we help you find the best online casinos in Switzerland. We have tested all of them ourselves and only offer you trustworthy platforms. In our casino list you will also find all current bonus offers. This saves you a lot of time in your own search on the internet. You can spend your time being entertained by the exciting games and have a lot of fun in the online casino.