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Switzerland Online Betting Sites, Law & Legislation

Switzerland Online GamblingMany forms of gambling and betting in Switzerland are legal but the situation with online play is slightly different.

Check out the need to know facts if you’re living in the country and where possible we’ve also provided a list of online betting sites where you can open a betting account.

Betting Sites For Switzerland

Betting Site Rating Bonus (CHF) Currency Language Visit
Betvictor A+ Bet 5 get 30 CHF / Euro English
New customers only, 18+, T&C’s apply
William Hill A 100% up to 100 CHF / Euro French / English
New customers only, 18+, T&C’s apply
Unibet B+ 75 free bet CHF / Euro French / English
New customers only, 18+, T&C’s apply
Key Facts: Switzerland

Article 106 of Switzerland’s Federal Constitution dictates all gambling law.

Land based gambling is legal where providers are licenced.

Legal gambling age is 18+.

Online gambling is illegal unless provider has a licence.

Overseas betting sites widely used and no prosecutions brought against players for using them.

Gambling Laws and Legislation Timeline

The following timeline traces the development of Swiss gambling law, by describing the various different pieces of relevant legislation passed over the years:

1923 – Federal Act on Lotteries and Commercial Betting

The Federal Act on Lotteries and Commercial Betting is the primary piece of legislation related to the operation of lotteries, sports betting and other similar activities in Switzerland. Article 33 of the act generally prohibits the professional provision of betting services related to sports events. The only exceptions to this relate to the right of cantons to provide licences for the provision of pari-mutuel betting at certain local live sporting events.

1998 – Federal Act on Games of Chance and Casinos

In Switzerland, casino games are classed as games of luck and are governed and regulated by the 1998 Federal Act on Games of Chance and Casinos. This act sets down the legal framework by which such games can be legally provided in Switzerland within land-based establishments. It also stipulates, however, that it is illegal to provide them online.

2012 – Article 106 of Federal Constitution

Adopted by a public vote in 2012, Article 106 of the Swiss Federal Constitution fully codifies the situation regarding gambling in Swiss law. The article clearly sets out the legal situation and states that cantons are responsible for granting gambling licences and for the supervising of gambling activities, sports betting and games of skill. The article also stipulates that its remit extends to:

telecommunications-based gambling

2019 (Predicted) – Money Gaming Act

An act known as the Money Gaming Act is currently under consultation in Switzerland but the earliest time at which it could pass is in 2019. That act would fully legalise online gambling in the country but would also set out a framework under which Swiss authorities could block overseas based gambling providers. Amongst its other actions would be to make all winnings from gambling tax-exempt, which is currently not the case in Switzerland.

Do Players Get Taxed On Winnings?

TaxAs we’ve alluded to above, unlike in many other countries, not all gambling winnings in Switzerland are tax exempt. In fact, it is only casino winnings which are tax-exempt and not lottery or betting winnings.

In most cantons, lottery and betting winnings are considered to be forms of income and as such winnings of CHF 50 or more are taxed at 35%. This tax is automatically subtracted when winnings are paid out but can be reclaimed through an individual’s annual tax return. Winnings earned through overseas based gambling providers, however, are in something of a grey area as whilst it is not a criminal offence to use such sites it is uncertain whether taxation rules still apply.

Online Deposit Options & Methods

DepositThe provision of online gambling is illegal in Switzerland apart from by the very limited number of online providers to have been licensed by the country’s cantons. There is nothing in Swiss law, however, to criminalise the use of overseas based online gambling providers by the country’s citizens.

As such, Swiss punters can freely deposit to these foreign based sites and can do so through any method of their choice. Swiss banks do not block bank transfers or card payments to gambling sites, making these readily available deposit methods, whilst e-wallet services offer an added degree of privacy if desired.

Author: David Lenton

David Lenton
David 'the Cheeky Punter' Lenton is an ex professional online sports bettor and trader with over 15 years of experience in the industry. He has also worked for a number of top bookmakers including Bet365, Ladbrokes, William Hill and Coral. With such a long time spent dedicated to the gambling industry no one is better placed when it comes to advising punters. Follow on Twitter @thecheekypunter