Switzerland is a country best known for several things – premium chocolate, expensive watches and a long tradition of banking secrecy.
The Swiss are known for being one of the wealthiest nations in the world, a fact which can be attributed to the country’s efficient banking system. As the citizens practically enjoy high living standards and earn enough money to support all of their needs, it’s no wonder many of them choose to place bets on various sports events every now and then.
Switzerland is located in the central part of Europe and a large section of its territory is occupied by the Alps. Due to topography and land elevation, winter sports like skiing and snowboarding are hugely popular in Switzerland, but punters’ bets are by no means restricted to those only. The Swiss commonly wager on soccer, ice hockey, rugby and basketball, too.
Sports betting is one of the favorite forms of recreation of most Europeans. However, in Switzerland, online wagering on the outcome of sports events is yet to become popular. The country’s authorities have always been strict in regard to such gambling activities and for the most part of the 20th century, sports betting in Switzerland has been altogether prohibited.
All forms of gambling, sports betting included, were officially declared illegal in 1921. This ban was a result of the Federal Popular Initiative, which is an instrument of direct democracy that enables citizens to propose amendments to the country’s Federal Constitution. This means Switzerland’s population can introduce changes in the constitution as long as there is a double majority of people agreeing with the proposed amendments. And the country’s government cannot do anything about it, if the citizens have collected enough signatures in favor of the said amendments. That is exactly what they did in 1921, when one such successful initiative collected enough signatures to prohibit sports betting in the country.
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Two years later, in 1923, the Federal Act on Lotteries and Professional Betting was officially enforced and all lotteries and sports wagers were rendered illegal. Nevertheless, this Federal Act enabled the 26 cantons, Switzerland consists of to establish their own rules on betting activities under the supervision of the Federal Office of Justice. Each Swiss canton is permitted to operate its own land-based lottery. This resulted in the emergence of the Société de la Loterie de la Suisse Romande, which provides all lottery services and the Sport-Toto Swisslos, responsible for land-based sports betting activities. In the French speaking cantons, punters are allowed to legally place parimutuel bets (also known as pools) on horse races.
Things took a turn for the better at the end of the 20th century. In 1993, some amendments were made but they did not manage to completely overturn the sports betting ban, imposed by the Federal Act. Gambling in casinos with limited stakes was allowed though, but the same did not apply to sports betting and lotteries.
Although online betting is illegal, surveys indicate one fifth of the Swiss population engages in sports betting and other forms of gambling. Read on for detailed information on current Swiss legislation.
Relevant Legislative Framework
The 20th century’s end was marked by more amendments in Swiss legislation. Nevertheless, online sports betting in this country practically remains an illegal activity. One important change took place in 1998, when the Casinos Act was passed. It was officially enforced in April, 2000. Thus, gambling activities on the territory of the country were split into two categories – games of chance, and lotteries and sports betting.
When a major sports event approaches, bets can be accepted, but generally the number of the available options is quite limited. However, in 2004 Swisslos was authorized to offer sports betting in the German-speaking cantons as well as in the canton of Ticino. A large portion of Swisslos’ revenues are used on charity and various projects in the fields of culture, social affairs and nature. Some of the funds are reserved for non-profit sports organizations and projects.
It was in 2009, when the Swiss Federal Gaming Board put forward a proposition. It was suggested that instead of banning online betting altogether, it would be a far better idea to allow it and regulate the market instead. The Federal Gaming Board also proposed that a special agency should be set to control and oversee such activities. At the same time, the said agency would be expected to help citizens who struggle with gambling addiction. Another recommendation suggested taxes to be imposed on casinos and betting providers’ revenues, while unlicensed web-based bookmakers should be prohibited from offering their services to Swiss citizens.
Punters from Switzerland will be interested to find that last year, in October, their government proposed the passing of a new legislation, which will enable casinos and betting providers, based in the country to go online and offer their services on the web. This does not apply to international bookmakers, however. The latter’s IP addresses will be blocked to prevent Swiss players from entering foreign websites. The good news is no taxes will be imposed on punters’ winnings generated at Swiss-based online sportsbooks. Though these amendments were proposed in 2015, they are expected to be officially enforced in 2019, which is something the Swiss Federation of Casinos is not particularly pleased with.
Swiss-based lotteries that accept bets on sports are forced to comply with several conditions. Only parimutuel bets or pools are allowed in the country. Please note those are accepted predominantly on horse racing. It’s safe to say, sports betting, especially online, is practically deemed an illegal activity in Switzerland. Nevertheless, the Swiss authorities have done next to nothing to actually prevent punters in the country from placing their bets at international sportsbooks.
At the present moment, there is no regulation of the online gaming market in Switzerland. Even though punters are prohibited from betting on the web, the government has not banned the IP addresses of foreign bookmakers, so bettors can visit them any time they choose. No betting providers have been prosecuted for offering their services to Swiss punters so far. The latter, on the other hand, have faced no penalties for engaging in gambling activities at international betting providers or casinos.
It is important to note, the Swiss authorities have not distributed licenses to domestic betting websites, but intend to do so in the future, when the 2015 amendments finally take place. As you can probably suppose, no taxation is imposed, either. This can be explained with the fact currently there are no online Swiss bookmakers to tax. While punters from the country bet at foreign sportsbooks, this practice is technically illegal, so there is no way to tax the said bookmakers. The revenues bettors have accrued online are not taxed, either, for the same reason. Land-based Swiss casino and betting operators, on the other hand, are expected to pay taxes on their annual revenues. Switzerland is one of the countries where massive taxes are imposed on land-based gambling providers. The tax rate is 52% of the providers’ gross profits.
Of course, as soon as the 2015 amendments come into force, all international online sportsbooks will be banned from the country. Their IP addresses will be blocked so that Swiss punters will no longer have access to the services they offer. Bettors won’t pay taxes on their winnings, if everything goes according to plan.
The legal gambling age in the country also needs to be taken into consideration. In Switzerland, only persons who are over 20 years old are allowed to participate in any forms of gambling.
Popular Sports to Bet on
Despite the restrictions, Swiss citizens frequently break the law by betting at international bookmakers. This isn’t surprising, either, first of all because there are no reported cases of punters being prosecuted. The second reason is that sports are actually quite popular in the country.
Switzerland is a landlocked country with a massive mountain range, the Alps, which are the highest and most extensive range in Europe, providing the perfect conditions for winter sports. Those are indeed especially popular. In fact, Switzerland is among the nations with very strong presence in the Winter Olympics. The country also boasts some of the best skiers in the world. It is understandable many bets are placed on Alpine skiing, ski jumping and cross country skiing. Most online sportsbooks offer a great variety of markets in their Winter Sports sections.
Many wagers are placed on curling as the country’s national teams have won a total of five World Curling Championships. Bobsleigh is another winter sport, the origins of which can be traced back to the 19th century. The sport was invented in one of the most expensive ski resorts in the country, St. Moritz, where the first ever bobsleigh track was built in 1884.
Understandably, ice hockey is quite popular among Swiss punters who regularly follow events from the National League A. The country is often the host of the Ice Hockey World Championship. This strong presence causes punters to bet on hockey events quite often.
Much like punters from neighboring countries, Germany, Italy and France, Swiss citizens are quite passionate about soccer and often back their favorite teams by placing online bets in their favor. The country even hosted the 2008 UEFA Championship alongside its neighbor, Austria. Popular leagues among Swiss punters are the English Premier League, Serie A and the German Bundesliga. Luckily, web-based bookmakers provide extensive coverage of events from all the aforementioned leagues, as well as a variety of markets to bet on.
Basketball is another sport which residents of the country are keen on. This is not surprising considering the fact Switzerland is listed among the founding members of FIBA (the International Basketball Federation). Markets on major basketball leagues are present on all established bookmakers’ lists.
And finally, another sport worth mentioning is tennis. Punters frequently back their compatriots in events from the ATP and WTA. This is to be expected, of course, as Switzerland is home to some of the best tennis players who ever lived, including Grand Slam champion (with 17 titles) Roger Federer and Martina Hingis.
While online betting is illegal on Swiss territory, it’s still widespread among residents of the country. As the latter are not sanctioned in any way, they frequently opt to take advantage of the convenience online betting has to offer. In fact, a great number of international bookmakers are more than happy to welcome Swiss punters at their websites. In many cases the sportsbooks are available in Italian, German and French, which are the official languages spoken in the Swiss Confederation. Furthermore, as Switzerland is not a member state of the EU, it still uses its own currency, which is the Swiss Franc. Luckily, many bookmakers accept deposits and withdrawals in CHF.
As far as payment methods go, the most suitable options for Swiss punters include e-wallet services such as those provided by Skrill, PayPal and Neteller. As bettors are not prosecuted by the authorities, they can choose to use credit/debit cards like Visa, Maestro and Mastercard, if they find it more convenient.
Online betting comes with a number of benefits, which is why it enjoys such a tremendous popularity among Swiss punters. The odds are usually much better, mobile betting is an option and there is a greater diversity of events and markets. In-Play betting, Live Score and Live Streaming are only some of the useful features, available at web-based sportsbooks.
BetVictor is the perfect online destination for enthusiastic punters who reside in Switzerland. The great news is the country is not listed among the bookmaker’s restricted territories. This indicates Swiss punters can register with an account, fund it via one of the many convenient payment methods and start their exciting betting journey. And what a journey it will be!
BetVictor has plenty of advantages to offer and the biggest one is the amazing versatility of markets and events. Bets can be placed on sports like soccer, basketball, golf, tennis, horse and greyhounds racing, boxing, cycling, cricket and many others. The Winter Sports section at BetVictor is also quite extensive as it features options such as Alpine skiing, biathlon and ski jumping.
There are more benefits of betting at this bookmaker. For instance, it offers interesting features like Cash Out, which enables you to cancel out the bet you’ve placed, if you begin to doubt the team or athlete you’ve backed will win. You can cash out your money before the game has ended. In-Play betting and statistics are also on offer and so is Mobile betting as the website can be loaded in portable devices’ browsers. Customer support is available around the clock via live chat.
This can easily be deemed one of the most popular names in the sports betting industry and it’s definitely well-deserved. The name stands for tradition, most of all, as William Hill’s history dates back to the distant 1934, when their first retail shop opened doors. A lot has changed since the bookmaker’s inception. William Hill went online in 2000 and today it offers an extensive sportsbook and many interesting features such as Live Betting, In-Play Schedule and Live Streaming.
The list of betting options is very comprehensive as it comprises of over 30 sports. Bets are commonly placed on sports like soccer, baseball, American football, tennis, golf, cricket, basketball, horse and greyhounds racing, but there are plenty of other alternatives. Swiss punters will greatly enjoy betting on sports from William Hill’s Winter Sports section. The bookmaker covers all prestigious winter championships, including the Winter Olympics.
Here is an interesting fact for you – William Hill entered the gambling industry at a time when sports betting was illegal in the United Kingdom. Today, it is a perfectly legitimate gambling destination and is recognized as a fair and secure betting provider. It operates under licenses issued by the Gambling Commissions of the UK and Gibraltar.
As the website is available in a number of languages, including French, German and Italian, Swiss punters won’t experience any troubles in finding their way around. Furthermore, the interface is quite user-friendly and the website is easy to navigate through.
Paddy Power is among the biggest web-based bookmakers in Ireland and the United Kingdom. Betting at this sportsbook is completely secure, not to mention very convenient as a number of handy features are put on offer. The most important feature is Live Betting, as it enables you to bet on games in play. A list of all ongoing events is to be found in the In-Play section. Another useful feature is Watch Live – all ongoing sports events are streamed live on the website, so that punters can keep track of the games, they’ve placed bets on. Most importantly, the live streaming service is free of charge.
In the InFormer section, you can find plenty of useful information on course-tracks and horses, jockeys and trainers’ form as well as helpful betting tips and suggestions. Paddy’s Picks of the top-performing horses are published every day. The winning horses in each race are awarded special badges so that punters can find them easily and bet on them.
Some punters demand greater flexibility from the bookmakers they bet at. To cater to such demands, Paddy Power offers a mobile version of the sportsbook, as well as downloadable Android and Apple apps. Some of the sports included are boxing, basketball, soccer, ice hockey, tennis, volleyball, baseball and snooker. A Winter Sports section is also on offer.
Swiss punters are more than welcome to join the friendly betting community of 888sport. This bookmaker is part of the Cassava Enterprises and is licensed and regulated by the Gambling Commission of Gibraltar. It provides fair and transparent betting environment to all of its customers.
Plenty of benefits await those who register at 888sport. The sportsbook stands out with very competitive odds on all markets it covers. These include sports like ice hockey, tennis, golf, basketball, soccer, American football, horse and greyhounds racing and many others. All major domestic and international leagues are decently covered.
Thanks to the In-Play feature, bets can be placed on sports events in progress, which further increases punters’ chances of placing a winning bet. The odds on all In-Play markets are constantly updated to keep them as accurate as possible. Live Score and Live Calendar features are also available. In addition, the website’s interface is very user-friendly and easy to navigate through, even if you are a newly-registered member.
It’s important to mention, 888sport is also available in a mobile format which further adds to enthusiastic punters’ convenience. You can access the sportsbook directly through your smartphone or tablet’s browser or download 888sport’s app for free from the website. It is compatible with iOS and Android devices.
Bet-at-home is yet another reliable web-based sportsbook that accepts punters from Switzerland. Though it is not one of the best-known bookmakers, Bet-at-home has a great number of active accounts, which is not surprising if you consider the fact it offers excellent customer service, fair treatment and a great diversity of betting options. The sportsbook is licensed and regulated by the Maltese Gaming Authority and this further testifies for its respectability.
Bet-at-home provides decent coverage on all sports you can possibly imagine. Some of the most popular betting options include tennis, soccer, basketball, volleyball, golf, ice hockey, motor sports, greyhounds racing and even chess. Swiss punters will be delighted by the opportunity they are given to bet on winter sports such as Alpine skiing, biathlon and bandy. The website is available on smartphones and tablets, too. You just need to scan the QR code or type in the website’s address in your mobile browser. It doesn’t matter what operating system your device runs on – Bet-at-home is compatible with all of them. Live betting is yet another alternative.