Federal Council adopts ordinances on Gambling Law

Gaming

The consultation procedure on the ordinances of the new Money Gaming Act (MGA) has been completed. On 9 November 2018, the Federal Council published the final versions of the ordinances. The MGA is supplemented by three ordinances: the Ordinance on Money Games ("Money Gaming Ordinance"), the Ordinance of the FDJP on Casinos ("Casinos Ordinance") and the Ordinance of the FDJP on the Due Diligence Obligations of the Organizers of Major Games to Combat Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism ("Money Laundering Ordinance FDJP, MLO-FDJP").

The Money Games Ordinance specifies the licensing requirements for Swiss casinos and providers of so-called "large games" (lotteries, sports betting and automated or online games of skill), contains regulations on the range of possible games and the operation of casino games and large games, and clarifies the provisions of the MGA on the protection of players against excessive gambling. In contrast to the current law, the requirement of a good reputation, which is a prerequisite for a license, is concretized. A good reputation is not given if someone carries out or has carried out money games without a Swiss license, which is particularly the case if the Swiss market has been targeted from abroad. The requirement of good reputation is generally reviewed retroactively for a period of five years when an application for a license is submitted. The Federal Council will decide upon the first applications for online licenses until July 2019.

The Money Gaming Ordinance also contains provisions on the organization of the supervisory bodies ESBK and Comlot and details on the casino levy for land-based and online gross gaming revenues. The basic fee rate for gross gaming revenues generated online is 20 percent, up to a maximum of CHF 3 million. From this point on, the tax rate increases gradually (between 2 and 0.5 percent per CHF 1 million), up to a maximum of 80 percent.

The Casinos Ordinance contains requirements for casino games (table games, automated games, jackpots and online games) as well as the organization of tournaments, data collection and documentation regulations for casinos.

The Money Laundering Ordinance FDJP specifies the duties of care of casinos and organizers of large games under the Anti Money Laundering Act. This includes the identification and registration of players, the identification of the beneficial owner and special duties of care in the event of an increased risk of money laundering. Casinos and organizers of large games must comply with documentation requirements in order to fulfil their duty of care and take organizational measures that make it possible to combat money laundering effectively.

The Federal Supreme Court has dismissed a voting complaint by the Pirate Party against the vote for the MGA on 29 October 2018. Therefore, the MGA and the associated ordinances can enter into force on 1 January 2019. The regulation regarding the blocking of the access to unauthorized online services will not come into force until 1 July 2019, as authorized online gaming can only be legally offered from that date.

November 2018 | Authors: Dr. Andreas Glarner, Dr. Alexandra Körner

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