Swiss Officials Approve Online Gaming License for Grand Casino Luzern

Posted on: June 9, 2019, 05:04h. 

Last updated on: June 10, 2019, 04:43h.

Grand Casino Luzern won permission from the Swiss Federal Council to open an online casino later this summer.

Switzerland’s Grant Casino Luzern, which has been preparing to enter the online gaming market, has received approval from gaming officials in the country to proceed. Company executives hope to launch online gaming this summer. (Image: Grand Casino Luzern)

An effort to legalize online gaming in Switzerland started nearly four years ago, but regulations governing Internet-based wagering there did not go into effect until earlier this year. Last June, Swiss voters overwhelmingly approved legislation to regulate online betting. The New Gambling Act passed last year bars foreign companies from offering web-based gaming in Switzerland.

“The new Gambling Act has legalized online gambling in Switzerland,” according to a statement issued by Grand Casino Luzern. “It enables responsible Swiss casinos to establish and operate their own online casinos.”

Ready for Action

Grand Casino Luzern, one of Switzerland’s nearly 20 land-based casinos, has been preparing for a move online for several years. The operator plans to run its Internet offering through the brand. The online gaming venue will feature slot machines and table games and will only be available to Swiss residents. Only operators certified by Swiss regulators will be eligible to offer online wagering there.

The operator said it is looking to offer a roulette game where online participants can wager alongside bettors in the land-based gaming property. Grand Casino Luzern said it has set aside a dedicated area in the physical venue for this roulette game and is awaiting approval of an operational license before launching the game.

Grand Casino Luzern is one of the first to receive a license for a Swiss online casino from the Federal Council,” said the casino’s CEO Wolfgang Bliem in the statement. “We see the online casino market as an additional and important sales channel for the casino, the core business of our company.”

Grand Casino Luzern’s land-based venue offers slot machines and traditional table games, including baccarat, blackjack, poker, and roulette.

A Previously Conservative Approach

While some European nations have long been home to other land-based casinos and others were quick to embrace online wagering, Switzerland long had some of the continent’s strictest gambling laws. Until 1993, the country had a constitutional ban on casino gaming, and while that prohibition was lifted, it was not until 2000 that brick-and-mortar gaming properties were permitted in Switzerland.

Switzerland’s move to liberalize Internet betting could be aimed at keeping more revenue at home. Estimates out last year revealed Swiss gamblers sent $254 million out of the country to online gaming venues operated in other nations.

Additionally, brick-and-mortar casino operators are looking for new revenue streams because Switzerland is home to a vibrant gaming black market, including illicit gambling dens, one that saps potential earnings for legitimate brick-and-mortar gaming properties.

Swiss casino operators pay between 40 to 80 percent of gross gaming revenue (GGR) to the country’s social security plan and the states, also known as cantons.

In addition to Grand Casino Luzerne, Grand Casino Davos, Grand Casino Baden, and Casino Zurichsee have also filed for online licenses. Rumors have circulated that Grand Casino Kursaal Bern seeks a permit to offer online betting, but it is doing so on behalf of another company.