The online gambling laws in Switzerland have been very restrictive in years gone by, but a lot has been changing in this land-locked country and in 2019 law makers voted to make all online casinos in Switzerland legal. It’s an exciting time to be a Swiss gambler, but there are still restrictions in place and the law is far from straightforward.
To see the best online casinos in Switzerland, take a look at our top list below, which includes all top online casinos available to players in this country, with links to online casino reviews, offers and more. To learn more about the online and offline gambling laws in Switzerland, keep reading to the end of this page.
Online Casinos in Switzerland
There are online casinos in Switzerland, and Swiss players can play these freely. But before you get excited, there are a few things you need to know about the local laws in this country.
Swiss Online Gambling Laws
For about 70 years, all forms of gambling, even lotteries, were illegal in Switzerland. This changed following the introduction of a new law in 1993, and immediately there were a number of big gambling games, casinos and more rolled out across the country.
Within a few short years Switzerland had gone from a country where gambling was scarce, into one where around 20% of the adult population gambled on a regular basis. This was a hugely positive shift, and one that helped to change the face of entertainment in the country while also giving the government an injection of tax dollars.
Technically, national lotteries were still illegal during this time, even though Swiss players had really taken to lotteries and were playing them both inside and outside of the country. But the biggest confusion was still to come, because as soon as online gambling became widespread the Swiss government were left in a bit of a conundrum.
On the one hand, they didn’t want citizens to gamble online, but on the other hand they couldn’t stop them as they were using overseas websites. They still tried their best to stop them though and but for a few exceptions people in Switzerland were not able to gamble online.
This changed in 2018 when the government voted on a law that would allow online gambling in the country, but only from Swiss players and Swiss operated online casinos. This means that online gambling is possible, but only from casinos that will focus 100% on Swiss players and not from the big rating casinos that you know and love.
Legal Gambling in Austria
The law that allowed online gambling through Swiss-based casinos was quite a significant milestone for the gaming sector in Switzerland. The vote was passed with very strong support, suggesting that there are a lot of people in government who want the gambling laws to be more relaxed.
Right now, it’s all about tax dollars. They want Swiss players to play Swiss casinos because that way they can collect a percentage of all revenue. Casinos that operate under licenses from the Malta Gaming Authority and the Curacao Gaming Authority do not pay taxes as they are located in tax havens and are not working under the jurisdiction of any tax paying country. The Swiss government knew that this wold be an issue if they allowed online gambling, which is why they are enforcing such a restrictive rule.
Of course, the government says otherwise and their official statement is that this will help to tackle problem gambling. But everyone knows the truth.
It’s still good news for Swiss players though as it could signal other changes in the future. And until then they will have the option of spending their money on Swiss casinos, which are due to launch in 2019 and will likely litter the local online gambling landscape within a few short years.
Gambling with Foreign Casinos in Switzerland
It’s very hard to find an online casino that can be played by Swiss players but is not in Switzerland. Such casinos may exist due to oversights in their restrictions, but even if they do it could be a matter of time before the Swiss authorities clamp down on them and stop them from operating in the country.
Those online casinos can fight it, and they have a good chance of winning the fight, but it’s hassle that few online casinos want. If Switzerland was a bigger country with more citizens and a higher number of gamblers it would be a different story. But it’s not, and most casinos make very little money from Swiss players.
What Makes a Good Swiss Online Casino?
If we suppose that the only option is a casino based in Switzerland, then the thing that makes a “good” casino is competition. That’s it. Competition is essential, because it can lead to all other good things. A competitive industry will force new casinos to offer big bonuses, lots of games, and other great features, because that’s the only way they can standout from their rivals.
This tends not to happen in countries with laws like those in Switzerland, but it may be an exception. Only time will tell on that one, but if a lot of different companies get licenses to operate in Switzerland and there is a lot of competition as a result, then we could see some very impressive offers and some very solid online casinos.
What Makes a Bad Swiss Online Casino?
If competition makes a good casino then a lack of competition makes a bad one. This can occur when single gambling brands have a monopoly on the casinos. Because a country with over a dozen online casinos will only create competition if they are not owned by the same one or two brands.
The good news is that you should not need to worry about scams. The laws are so strict and the industry is so tightly regulated that scams are scarce. What’s more, if anything happens to you when you are playing on these casinos then you should have recourse for action and may be able to get your money back, or at the very least lodge a successful complaint against the casino that wronged you.