Switzerland gearing up for new gambling legislation increases player protection

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Swiss casinos are waiting for the outcome of the referendum on the new gambling law that is scheduled on June 10. If the new legislation receives the support of majority of voters, the casinos will be able to offer online versions of roulette, blackjack and poker.

The new law on gambling will bring the gambling activities subject to authorisation and regulation, It will also ensure that players are protected.

In March 2012, 87 per cent of voters and all cantons accepted a new wording for Article 106 of the Swiss constitution which says that:

– Gambling is an activity to be authorised by the federal government or the cantons, so that principles of economic liberalism do not apply to gambling and the number of casinos or lotteries allowed is to be set by law.

– Casinos pay tax to the cantons and thus their profits flow into the old age pension fund, which means funding of about CHF300 million ($303 million) for the fund, and for the cantons about CHF 50 million ($50.4 million).

– Proceeds of lotteries go exclusively to community welfare uses. The two main lotteries active in Switzerland redistribute over CHF 600 million every year to sports, social and cultural activities and the arts; this involves both top-level sport and also the amateur level, and includes funding for small sporting events, folk festivals, small theatres or associations with a social welfare purpose.

– Given the dangers involved in gambling, the Swiss government and the cantons take steps to ensure protection for players depending on the type of gaming involved as well as the location and manner of provision of the service.

Ethical approach

To sum up, gambling is not an activity ruled purely by economic liberalism, but is an activity authorised by government. Proceeds of gambling should not be redistributed to shareholders but should go into old age pensions and other public welfare funds. Furthermore, even though it may seem paradoxical, players need to be protected.

The new legislation on gambling corresponds to the requirements listed above, and for this reason I am supporting it.

Allowing only casinos which already have a concession to offer gambling online means that the availability of this kind of gambling will respect players and take an ethical approach.

Furthermore, requiring lotteries with ticket machines in public places to equip these machines with a device preventing minors from playing, as is the case for cigarette vending machines, and banning minors from casinos, will help deal with addiction to gambling.

Informing consumers of gambling online that they are on a gambling site forbidden in Switzerland and that they can bet on the same games on Swiss casino sites, will not only help enforce the constitutional requirement that the proceeds of gambling go to the old age pension fund or other public uses, but also help to combat current forms of money laundering, and even online fraud.


Source: swissinfo.ch