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The History of Swiss Betting Regulations
Switzerland had a constitutional ban on gambling in force from 1921 until the 1990s. A bill was passed in 1993 to abolish the ban and resulted in the 1998 Casinos Act being passed. This came into effect on April 1st, 2000. The Act split gambling into two sections: games of chance (which included casino games) and lotteries and betting.
Lotteries are still banned federally although each canton, or state, is allowed to run their own. While lottery companies control sports betting in Switzerland, regular betting is not allowed. With the exception of some local events, the only bets available are pools-style betting on a limited number of sporting events. Pari-mutuel betting on horse racing is also permitted in the French cantons and there are now several horse racing tracks located around the country.
In 2009 a preliminary report came out from the Swiss Federal Gaming Board recommending the regulation of online gambling. Its recommendations included setting up an agency to combat gambling addiction, a comprehensive structure for taxing the industry and the blocking of unregulated sites to ensure tax income is not lost abroad.
Despite the Swiss authorities being aware of this, there was no action taken and no concerns raised until the economic crisis began to take hold in 2012. Bricks and mortar casinos began to see their revenues drop by 43% in the period between 2008 and 2012, blamed primarily on Italian gamblers preferring to play online rather than make the journey to Swiss casinos, although the amount of tax lost domestically to international businesses raised additional concerns. It was therefore decided that legislation was needed to regulate online gambling. In 2017 the Swiss parliament passed the new Money Gaming Act, which became law in summer 2019.
Online Betting Abroad
With limited options for sports betting within Switzerland and no come-back or restrictions for using foreign sites, many Swiss who wish to bet on sporting events have turned to companies providing betting online.
This is set to continue, however due to the Money Gaming Act, external online betting sites will be blocked. All the sites we recommend will continue to be available to Swiss residents, however using a VPN may be necessary to avoid any restrictions.
Why Use Foreign Betting Sites?
Online betting in Switzerland is a relatively new thing. Even newer are the Swiss companies who will now be able to take bets. However, as with any new market, it will take time to adjust. There may also be a lack of competition due to the limited number or Swiss bookmakers, especially when compared to other prominent European markets such as the UK.
Comparing odds across a wide range of bookmakers is a key betting strategy. These subtle differences can make a huge difference to bettors and help find value. At SBO.net our expert team has found the best choices for online sports betting. Using our recommended sites will guarantee you reliable, trusted service and excellent value.
Overall, it is a very positive step that the Swiss Government has made to legalise online betting. However, we believe it will be a while until the market truly finds its feet. Don’t hang around while it does, use our recommendations to access Europe’s best sports betting sites.
You will not find many sites that allow you store your balance in Francs, unfortunately, meaning you will have to convert them into Euros or US Dollars. This is easily done at the site when you deposit, although rates can change, and you risk losing some of the value of your balance due to exchange fees.
The most common form of depositing funds is through a credit card such as Visa or MasterCard or debit cards like Switch or Delta. You can also use e-wallets like NETeller or Skrill and if you open up Euro accounts here you will not have to exchange your currencies as often if you find yourself moving funds from site to sites.
Another popular choice to fund online betting accounts is PayPal. PayPal is well known and has an excellent reputation for security. It also offers currency exchanges too, so it may be a good choice if you are planning to change between Franc and Euro or to move money between multiple betting accounts.
Exact times for deposits and withdrawals vary from site to site, however, deposits are usually processed immediately, and withdrawals take 1-3 days depending on your banking method.
The Most Popular Sports in Switzerland
Despite being a relatively small European country in terms of size and population, Switzerland regularly punches above its weight in sporting terms. Roger Federer, arguably the greatest tennis player ever, is Switzerland’s most famous sporting export. However, football and winter sports are also national passions.
The Switzerland national football team regularly rank inside the world’s top 10 and the Winter Olympics has been hosted by the country twice. Popular sports with Swiss bettors include:
- Ice Hockey
- Winter Sports
- Boxing & MMA
- Formula 1
No matter which sport you love, our recommended bookmakers have got you covered. You will be able to find a huge range of markets on the most popular sports in Switzerland.
Swiss Betting FAQs
Yes, online gambling is legal in Switzerland. To get the best odds though, it is advisable to use foreign betting sites.
Decimal odds, or European odds are the most common across the whole of mainland Europe, including Switzerland. For example, Liverpool to win the Premier League in 2020 has odds of 3.6.
If you are in Switzerland and you want to bet online with non-swiss bookmakers, the best way to do this is using a VPN.
Yes, many forms of gambling are popular in Switzerland and in recent years there has been a big shift to Swiss residents betting online.