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New gambling laws planned in Switzerland

The Swiss Department of Justice and Police has confirmed that it is to work with representatives of each Swiss canton to draft new laws regarding online gambling in the country.

Online-casinos.com reports the decision comes following a 2009 report by the Federal Gaming Board that concluded ‘virtual gambling should be liberalised and, apart from such liberalisation, illegal operation of these games should be more effectively curtailed through further measures’.

Despite having mostly avoided the economic crunch, unlike many other European countries, Switzerland has suffered due to online gambling websites. Gross revenue for the 21 casinos in the country declined by 24% in comparison with 2008; a drop mostly attributed to the reduction in Italian gamblers opting for online gaming rather than visiting the country to gamble.

The Swiss 1998 gaming law prohibits online poker and gambling but does not contain an enforcement capability, which means that Swiss poker players have been able to play online through all the major online gambling operators.

Preparatory to the new legislation, the Swiss Federal Constitution was amended in March of 2012 after a popular vote. This established a framework for new gambling laws including levying ‘a revenue-related tax on casinos; this tax must not exceed 80% of the gross revenues from gambling’.

Drafts will be made available for consultation and review in the second half of 2013.

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