Four Swiss land-based casino properties have filed in their request for online gaming licenses from the country’s gambling regulatory body, Eidgenössische Spielbankenkommission (ESBK).
The casinos in question are Casino Davos, Grand Casino Luzern, Grand Casino Baden and Casino Zurichsee. The step that follows is ESBK’s assessment of casino applications and certification of their gaming libraries. The final decision on the fate of their processes…
…will be brought forward by the Swiss National Council. Estimates about the finalization of the licensing process say that it could be over before the end of June.
Last year, Switzerland’s authorities passed The Gaming Act that regulates online gambling…
…under whose terms only the existing land-based casinos are allowed to launch online gaming operations. The decree caused much controversy and a fiery public debate as it outlaws and effectively bans any foreign operators to join the Swiss market.
A nation-wide referendum was held last June, with 73% of voters approving The Gaming Act. Another wave of controversy came with the measure that grants local authorities the power to order internet providers to blacklist certain unlicensed sites and block users’ access to them, which was seen as a violation of freedom of speech rights.
Legislation became effective on January 1st. Unlicensed sites will be blocked starting July 1st.
…however, not without any limits, because the Act’s measures set a maximum sum for poker tourneys as well as lotteries and raffles. The maximum entry fee for poker is $196 for small tournaments, whereas for lotteries, the limits will depend on their size.
Major operator, The Stars Group, is looking to form a partnership bond with a Swiss casino, and for that they’ve temporarily shut down their sports betting offering in Switzerland until the deal is made.