Today in Switzerland there are many different types of legal land-based gambling activities with the main ones being games of chance that can only be played in casinos. There’s also a national lottery, live poker events and sports betting shops and one of the main regulators in the country is the Swiss Federal Gaming Board (SFGB).
Online gambling activities in Switzerland were illegal until as recently as January 2019 and now citizens have access to hundreds of fully licensed gambling sites, but specifically at ones that are licensed by the Swiss government and ones that are also based within the country’s borders. You can also still find numerous foreign controlled gambling sites that operate from outside of Swiss borders and are unlicensed by the Swiss government.
Gambling History in Switzerland
Since 1921 all forms of gambling in Switzerland were officially outlawed, and this legislation stayed in place for several decades, right up until 1993 when land-based casinos were eventually legally permitted to operate, but only after obtaining a gambling license from the government. Today you can now find more than 20 casinos operating across the country.
Many restrictions came in with the new laws which have gradually been introduced over the past two decades. For example, before the year 2000, only limited-stakes gambling was allowed. It was at this time when unlimited stakes gambling eventually became legal at casinos. The new legislation that came into effect also meant that foreign gambling sites could be blocked by the government. The online gambling ban was eventually lifted in September 2017 through new legislation known as the Money Gaming Act.
Switzerland Gambling & Online Gambling Laws
The two main gaming categories that define gambling activities in Switzerland today include games of chance and games of skill. The Swiss Federal Council, the executive branch of the country’s government, agreed to enforce the country’s new gambling law (Geldspielgesetz), from January 1st, 2019, and for a period of six months the council will be processing land-based casino operator’s successful applications to extend their license to cover online gambling too.
You need to be at least 18 years old to gamble in the real money mode in Switzerland, and you can now enjoy legally gambling at numerous land-based gambling venues and also at several home-grown gambling sites which are licensed by Swiss authorities. Although some foreign websites were banned from operating within the Swiss market, many foreign operators continue to operate, but they operate from outside of Swiss borders and do not fall under the Swiss government’s jurisdiction, which means that they are perfectly legal.
As mentioned, the main piece of gambling legislation, the Money Gaming Act, did eventually lead to some of the biggest and best foreign gambling sites being banned in the country, but there are still plenty of world-class gambling sites that haven’t been blocked, and these ones continue to aim their trade towards the Swiss market. The Swiss Government is currently working out the finer details of the online gambling regulatory system, and if this new legislation gets passed, it will mean that players can legally gamble at foreign online gambling sites too. However, you are still NOT breaking the law by playing at one of these sites today.
Online Casino Benefits to Players from Switzerland
Today in Switzerland, the online and offline gambling industry is better regulated than many other European countries, and it has a more relaxed approach to gambling compared to previous years. This means that Swiss players can now legally gamble at numerous fully licensed websites (both home-grown and foreign) and they can benefit from having access to some of the best online casino games in the world at trusted gambling sites that are controlled by reputable operators with proven track records.
Some of the most notable providers that supply games to the best Swiss online casinos today include Microgaming, NetEnt, Playtech, NextGen, Novomatic, Yggdrasil Gaming, Elk Studios, WMS Gaming, IGT Interactive, Quickspin, Play’n GO and Evolution Gaming. You can benefit from a guaranteed new player welcome bonus when you sign up to a gambling site for the first time, and you can also then continue to benefit from plenty of frequent online casino bonuses and promotions such as free spins bonuses, cash back bonuses, matching deposit bonuses and more.
That’s not all though. Swiss players have access to toll-free player support (usually available 24/7), and the websites can generally be displayed in one of several major European languages such as French, Italian or German.
FAQ Useful to Players from Switzerland
Am I breaking the law by playing at a foreign gambling site that isn’t Swiss-licensed and doesn’t operate from within Swiss borders?
No. You are not breaking the law when playing in the real money mode at a foreign gambling site that hasn’t obtained a license from the Swiss government.
How can I deposit & withdraw at online gambling sites (both national ones and foreign controlled sites)?
The good news is that Swiss players can choose from a broad range of popular Swiss online payment options that enable you to deposit & withdraw easily at online casinos. There’s also the fact that you can play in your local currency of Swiss francs (CHF) and you can deposit and withdraw at today’s best Swiss franc online casinos using a variety of popular Swiss online payment options.
Can foreign gambling sites for Swiss players be trusted?
Yes. Today’s best Swiss online casinos are protected by the latest SSL encryption technology which is constantly working to keep your personal details and your funds in safe hands at all times. These casinos also happened to be owned & operated by some of the most reputable names from the gambling industry.
Do Swiss players get taxed on their winnings?
No. the good news at the time of writing is that you don’t have to pay the government any taxes on your gambling winnings.
What can I expect in the form of player support?
When you sign up to a top-rated Swiss online casino you will generally have instant access to 24/7 player support via live chat, email and telephone (usually a toll-free Swiss landline number).
Online Gambling Highlights in Switzerland
- Swiss online casinos today often rank among the very best in the world
- You can take advantage of a guaranteed new player welcome bonus when you sign up, and you can also then benefit from frequent, ongoing bonuses and rewarding loyalty/VIP programs
- You can enjoy playing on thousands of world-class online casino games either on desktop or mobile, and the games generally take just seconds to launch in most web browsers
- Play to win lots of life-changing progressive jackpots daily
- Access to games from numerous award-winning online casino software providers
- Many Swiss online casinos today also have an exciting portfolio of live dealer games available (either from NetEnt or from Evolution Gaming)
- You can gamble in Swiss Francs (plus Euros and most other major currencies are also widely accepted), and you can easily deposit & withdraw using a broad range of popular Swiss online payment options
Problem Gambling Help in Switzerlandp>Problem gamblers in Switzerland can turn to numerous problem gambling support organizations and some of the most notable non-profit organizations that we can recommend include Gamblers Anonymous, GamCare, Gamble Aware and Gambling Therapy. Today’s best Swiss gambling sites (home-grown and foreign) all actively promote responsible gambling, and they provide the links and telephone numbers (sometimes toll-free) to one or more of these useful problem gambling websites.
The types of support and useful tools that problem gamblers can benefit from at these websites include things like free access to professional counsellors who are trained to offer guidance and advice on problem gambling, as well as online chatrooms where you can use live text chat to talk about issues related to problem gambling. They also have useful questionnaires, problem gambling-articles and much more. Switzerland also has several walk-in clinics that deal with a wide range of addiction problems, but these don’t tend to be free.