According to the article 106 of the Swiss Constitution, the law on gambling and lotteries is a federal matter. For conducting legal activities a company needs a concession (license), the issuance of which must take into account all the local conditions and gambling-related hazards.
Online gambling under a ban
The union’s budget fee is charged on the gross income of gambling houses, not exceeding 80%. It mainly goes on subsidy payments for elderly, disabled and survivor benefits. The article 106 provides two types of gambling: running the casino or lotteries, which are regulated by the Federal Act on lotteries and commercial rates, and control is assigned to another governmental institution.
Simultaneously with article 106, on 1 April 2010, the law on gambling and casinos came into force, which became the legal basis of gambling activities in Switzerland. All the games are allowed only in licensed establishments.
All the licensing, as well as supervision and taxation issues fall within the competence of the federal center. Online gambling and other forms of remote access are prohibited. However, according to online casino dgfev.de, a reputed online gambling center based in the neighboring Germany, the local authorities are close to introduction an amendment that clears out the way for online gambling businessmen. Currently, no prosecutions for playing online are envisaged, and the inhabitants of the country spent at online casinos nearly EUR400ml.
Main requirements for obtaining the license
The main objectives of gambling regulation specified in the Law are as follows:
- security guarantees and transparency;
- combating crime and money laundering;
- prevention of the negative effects of gambling.
Furthermore, the Act aims at developing tourism and replenishing of the budgets of Confederation and the cantons. To open a gambling house two permits from the federal government are required: operational and the one on a specific location. In the presence of both the license is issued. Appeal against refusal is not provided.
The resolution on the location is provided or not basing on the opinion of the canton and local authorities. Additionally, the applicants are required to prove the benefits of opening establishments in the particular area.
To obtain an operational permit the following documents are required: a social concept, the concept of security, a business plan and a guarantee of the upcoming tax. The decision on the basis of these documents, the Federal Council takes on gambling at the Ministry of Justice.
In its structure, 5-7 members are appointed by the Government, at least one of which enters the board through a recommendation of the cantons, while the another two reps shall be independent experts having no personal interest, directly or indirectly related to gambling.
Swiss authorities are quite loyal to foreign investors; among foreign operators French and Austrian capitals are dominating.
The local gambling rules are quite common:
- Under 18 years old are not allowed;
- Individuals associated with casinos (staff, employees control structures, etc.);
- Individuals suffering from gambling addiction.
The list of such individuals is stored in a single register, available to all the institutions in Switzerland. Visitors are allowed only after verification of documents; the ID, or personal account, reflects all the wins and losses. Loans for customers are strongly prohibited.