First Swiss Online Casinos Ready To Rollout

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First Swiss Online Casinos Ready To Rollout ( Click to Enlarge )

The Swiss Federal Council has this week granted approval for the first online casino applications to be submitted to the country’s Gaming Board (ESBK). The news paves the way for the launch of online casino gambling under Switzerland’s recently relaxed gaming laws.

So far, four applications have been greenlit, with Grand Casino Luzern, Casino Davos, Casino Pfaffikon and Grand Casino Baden all on course to launch online platforms on July 1st, 2019. The news has been welcomed by casino fans around the country.

New Legislation

Swiss lawmakers approved a brand-new Gambling Act in 2018, which took effect on the 1st January of this year. At present, the latest provisions mean that only land-based casinos currently operating in the country are authorised to apply to run online gambling sites.

Many industry insiders see the current provisions as too restrictive and somewhat controversial.

For example, local internet service providers have been instructed to block any unlicensed gambling domains designed to target Swiss gamblers.

However, this doesn’t mean that there are no in-roads for international companies who want to corner the Swiss online casino market. Companies from outside of the country are eligible to form partnerships with land-based casino operators in order to provide content.

Awaiting Further Approval

The four licensed casino operators still require regulatory approval for the software their respective online casinos will be powered on, although this is expected to be fast-tracked by the end of June 2019, in keeping with the tentative launch dates for each of the approved online casinos to be up-and-running by the beginning of July.

Grand Casino Baden is set to relaunch its JackPots.ch online gambling brand. At present, the site is available as a free-to-play casino, which has already amassed over 15,000 registered users. Speaking at the Gaming in Holland expo last week, GCB’s Chief Financial Officer Marcel Tobler highlighted that the firm was “very excited” about the upcoming launch of JackPots.ch as a paid-for, fully-operational online casino.

Further Applications

At present, Switzerland has 21 brick-and-mortar casinos, each of which is eligible to apply for online gaming licences. At present, it remains to be seen how many of these will go live with online casino operations, although one thing remains clear: the demand for online gaming is large throughout the country, which will likely result in more applications being approved before the year is out.