Members of Parliament in Switzerland have paved the way for new gambling taxation laws by voting to abolish its old gambling laws in order to consolidate its gaming tax revenues into a single modern bill which deals with new online markets.
The countries current gambling laws were enshrined in the 1923 Lotteries and Betting Act and the 1998 Gambling Act. Under current legislation earnings from Swiss casinos are not taxed whereas those earnings from lotteries and sports betting are. These laws were scrapped in order to make way for the Money Gaming Act. The new bill will introduce a tax exemption for winnings under SF $1m (£1.03m) made from lotteries or sports betting in an attempt to more fairly tax the different revenues of the gaming industry.
The main focus of the Money Gaming Act is to combat fraud and underage online gambling. The Swiss will only allow for local land based casinos to apply for online gaming licences. This means that the only way a foreign online operator may be made available to the public is through a partnership with a local casino, and even then they must prove their company has a ‘good reputation’.
Additional changes include the allowance for small private poker tournaments to take place outside of casinos.
The ways in which gaming taxes are spent will also change with a shift in legal focus on donations towards charitable causes. It is unlikely that the bill will become a law until 2019, however the progress made in the Swiss parliament to scrap the old laws means there are no more legal barriers to the introduction of the Money Gaming Act.