Switzerland Votes for Online Gambling, Bans Foreign Operators

It’s historic times for Switzerland. This small mountainous country at the heart of Europe has just held a public vote on the country’s new Gambling Act, with 73% of the electorate having supported the legislation that will legalize online gambling, which is set to go in motion in 2019.

However, there is also bad news for foreign operators, since this piece of legislature also forbids them from operating in Switzerland as it is aimed only at Swiss-certified casinos and gambling companies. This is due to the government’s estimate that nearly $253 million is wagered at the moment via unregulated foreign betting channels.

Simonetta Sommaruga, Switzerland’s Justice Minister, states that the Gambling Act has already been passed by both houses of parliament and that it would prove to be a great asset in the combat against problem gambling. However, there were more than 50,000 petition signatures demanding that the Gambling Act gets thrown aside, as there are those who fear that this Act would effectively mean online censorship.

This poll was conducted over the weekend, along with some other polls asking the citizens whether Switzerland should bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics and to vote on new banking regulations.

Online gambling is already legal in most European countries, but the central stage where new developments are happening is now in the US where a number of states have or are about to legalize online gambling, such as Michigan or Pennsylvania.