The landscape of Switzerland’s gambling market is going to change drastically this year. The new Gambling Act, which was upvoted by 73% of the Swiss voters in last summer’s referendum, has already come into effect from January 1. Switzerland’s Federal Council has granted only 4 official licenses for online gambling, all of them to Swiss land-based casinos. Unlicensed online casinos that target Swiss players have been given half a year’s time until July 1 to abandon the market.
Well-known companies have already confirmed that they are pulling out from the newly regulated market in order to comply with the new law. Among the names are powerhouses like LeoVegas, William Hill, Betway Fair, 10bet and Redbet. Swiss authorities have announced that from July 1 they will ban without further notice the unlicensed operators. Any operator who fails to follow the new guidelines will be put into a blacklist and their domains will be blocked by a Domain Name Server (DNS) lock.
The operators that have withdrawn from the Swiss market can only hope that their goodwill is going to offer them a window of returning to the country. Avoiding the blacklist and any further damage at their brand names, the online casinos can hope to obtain an official license in the future.
The new regulations are part of the Swiss authorities’ intention to reduce gambling addiction within the country. Therefore, strict measures are going to be implemented such as limitations in the maximum sums a player can invest in casino games, especially poker, lotteries and raffles. The government aims to decrease the CHF250 millions per year that the Swiss citizens spend on unregulated operators.
As far as the players with existing accounts at the unlicensed online casinos are concerned, their funds will be returned by the operators before the sites officially vacate the market.