Liechtenstein: No Online Gaming Until at Least 2028 After New Prohibition

Posted on: December 15, 2023, 11:07h. 

Last updated on: December 15, 2023, 10:44h.

The launch of an online casino market in Liechtenstein has been pushed back again. There was a chance that the small European country would begin to license operators before the end of the year. But it will now be at least another five years.

The flag of Liechtenstein flying against a background of Vaduz Castle
The flag of Liechtenstein flys near Vaduz Castle. The country will continue a moratorium on the issuance of iGaming licenses for another five years. (Image: Getty Images)

The Liechtenstein government said in a statement that it has decided to shelve a process for online gambling licenses until the end of 2028. This is the latest in a series of delays that have plagued the country’s efforts to launch its iGaming market.

The decision to postpone the launch of online casinos comes amid concerns about the potential impact of the new market on Liechtenstein’s already thriving land-based casino industry. The casinos are a major source of income for the state treasury. In 2022, they raised €50 million (US$54.24 million) in taxes.

Cause for Delay

The past couple of years have also brought some resistance to the land-based market in the country. A citizen-led group attempted to ban all casinos. But the measure didn’t garner enough support when put to a vote earlier this year. Still, Liechtenstein may have decided to pull back on the online gaming market to let the turbulence subside.

Another factor that may be contributing to the delay is the ongoing developments in Switzerland’s online gambling market. Liechtenstein’s neighbor has a well-established online gambling market, and the Swiss government may be concerned that allowing Liechtenstein to launch its own online gambling market could lead to increased cross-border gambling.

Despite the delays, the Las Vegas of the Alps remains committed to launching an online casino market in Liechtenstein at some point in the future. However, it is unclear when this will happen.

The delay in the launch of online casinos is likely to negatively impact Liechtenstein’s gambling industry. The country has been working to diversify its economy away from traditional industries such as banking and tourism, and the online gambling market was seen as a potential new source of revenue.

The delay will also likely make it more difficult for Liechtenstein to attract new investment into the gambling industry. Investors will be hesitant to support a market that isn’t fully developed.

Fair Play From Across the Border

As a member of the European Union (EU), Liechtenstein grants operators from other EU countries access to its gambling market. Since no Liechtenstein gambling licenses are available, the government can’t prosecute players who gamble on foreign sites. This idea has been put to the test in other countries but appears to be surviving in Liechtenstein.

Liechtenstein is also a “grey area” for sports betting. Sports betting, both offline and online, has been legal in the country since 2010. But there are no known betting shops or online bookies in Liechtenstein. However, many of the major sports betting companies accept bets from Liechtensteiners.

The country has also signed an agreement with Switzerland to share data on banned players, which is expected to come into force next year after the Swiss parliamentary approval process is complete.