Swiss Gambling Supervisory Authority Gespa

Gespa - Switzerland.png
Erlachstrasse 12 Bern 3012 CH
+41 31 313 13 03+41 31 313 13 03
+41 31 313 13 00

Supervision by the Swiss Gambling Supervisory Authority Gespa is aimed at ensuring that players in Switzerland may participate in lotteries, sports betting and skill-based games in a safe and socially responsible manner.

Gespa is an institution under public law with own legal personality. She carries out her supervisory tasks autonomously and independently (Art. 21(1) Gambling Concordat). These tasks include authorisation and supervision of large-scale gambling operators and their games, assessing these games, especially skill-based games, and fighting illegal activities. Gespa further acts as a Swiss “national platform” in the effort to prevent manipulation of sports events. It is the centre of expertise of the cantons for all gambling-related issues and publishes annual statistics on large- and small-scale gambling as well as reports on the use of revenues from lotteries and sports betting.

Gespa accounts for its activities in annual reports.

Supervision of authorized large-scale gambling

On the basis of the relevant legislation, Gespa’s task is to ensure that large-scale gambling operators pay proper attention to the risks involved (fraud, money laundering, problem gambling). A particular focus is laid on youth protection and prevention of excessive gambling. Before granting a licence, Gespa assesses the risk potentials of the game to be licensed using tried-and-tested methods. Depending on such assessment, appropriate protective measures may be demanded.

Gespa’s supervisory tasks include first and foremost overseeing all gambling activities and their operators.

Skill-based games are permissible as such only if winning depends entirely or largely on the player’s skill. Assessing skill-based games is much more complex and demanding than in the case of lotteries and sports betting; correct assessments at the boundary of chance and skill are essential to achieve the objectives of the legislator.

Fighting illegal gambling

Apart from supervising authorized operators and their games, combatting illegal activities is another core task of Gespa.

Gespa runs regulatory investigations on suspected cases within its sphere of responsibility and assists law enforcement agencies in combatting the illegal market under criminal law. In close cooperation with the Federal Gaming Board and Swiss internet providers, Gespa deploys technical measures to bar illegal online gambling operators from accessing the Swiss market. The aim is to prevent operators that evade regulatory supervision by means of an offshore home base from being active in Switzerland.

The Gambling Act entrusts Gespa with important responsibilities with regard to taking steps against competition manipulation in sports. Gespa in particular takes on the role of a “national platform”, to the establishment and operation of which Switzerland has committed itself in the Macolin Convention (see Manipulation of sports competitions). The platform acts as reporting office and ensures the flow of information between domestic and foreign authorities, sports organisations and gambling operators.

Centre of expertise for money games

Gespa is the centre of expertise of the cantons for all gambling-related issues. In order to ensure and constantly improve its know-how, Gespa stays in touch with other national and international authorities and other parties concerned with gambling. Gespa provides expertise to the cantons in the course of legislation procedures and represents the cantons in boards and commissions on gambling (e.g. coordination body, commission for fairness and others). She is the contact of choice for media and the public.

The Gambling Act further charges Gespa with compiling annual statistics on large- and small-scale gambling as well as reports on the use of revenues from lotteries and sports betting (see Publications and surveys).

Last but not least, Gespa has a superordinate monitoring function in that it reviews all permits for small-scale gambling events issued by the cantons.


Offline legislation:

Online legislation: Online only in partnership with offline casinos.

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