association, the Fédération Suisse des Casinos, has called for stricter
gambling laws to be introduced after the country's land-based industry saw
sales decline for the eighth consecutive year.
Swiss casinos saw
sales fall 4.1 per cent year-on-year to CHF680.9m (€622.9m), with total sales
down by a third since 2007, with this trend expected to continue under the
current regulatory system, even with changes to the laws expected to be made
Casinos in Lugano and
Davos saw the largest declines, with sales down 24 per cent to CHF33.6m and
24.1 per cent to CHF2m respectively. Both of the country’s leading casinos, in
Montreux (sales up 1.7 per cent to CFH72.6m) and Zurich (up 4.7 per cent to CHF
63.9m) grew over the year.
In October last year
the country’s Federal Council published
draft laws under which land-based casinos will be allowed to
apply for online gaming licences and a tax on players’ winnings be scrapped. It
is designed to boost the market by allowing online casino games and lift
restrictions on small-stakes poker tournaments.
It also proposes
blocking unlicensed sites and implementing stricter controls to ensure a higher
standard of consumer protection.
The system is likely
to come into place from 2019 should it be approved, replacing the 1998 Gaming
Act and 1923 Lottery Act.
However with turnover
down 33 per cent since 2007 and contributions to the Cantons and AVS social
programme down 40 per cent since that year, the federation has called for the
laws to urgently address these issues.
It says that the new
law on gambling must ensure a competitive environment for the existing
operators, picking out three key areas.
believes that blocking access to unlicensed sites operated by foreign companies
must be introduced urgently.
“Unlike the Swiss
casinos, these operators do not offer protection against gambling addiction or
pay back any income to the AVS and the cantons,” it says. “Meanwhile, they also
cause distortion of competition.”
It also supports the
proposal to allow third parties to organise poker tournaments outside of
casinos, but only if those offering these tournaments are subject to the same
rigorous controls as the land-based venues. This, however, should not mean that
entities offering poker organisations every night should be allowed, the
federation wants to ensure that the casinos must be able to offer a competitive
and attractive range of products.
“This means the power
to offer sports games as well as sports betting and lottery products from
Swisslos and the Loterie Romande, similar to kiosks and bistros,” it says.
“Casinos offer the best conditions for this. They guarantee a complete
prevention of gambling addiction and provide, through their input controls, no
minors or excluded individuals participate in gambling.”