Switzerland is often associated with its stable economy, high-quality chocolates, and skiing. The Swiss Alps have some of the world’s best slopes and ski resorts. People residing in this country enjoy a high living standard, while the taxation system in the country is relatively moderate. Those conditions pave the way for a thriving gambling market.
Gambling is a favorite pastime for many Swiss people. Until recently, online sports betting was illegal in Switzerland. However, the ban did not stop Swiss punters from betting at foreign-licensed sportsbooks. Swiss legislators realized that by banning online gambling activities, they deprive the country of significant tax revenues. And in 2019, the country finally legalized online sports betting.
Best Sports Betting Sites in Switzerland
At the moment of writing, there are only two sportsbooks, Swisslos and Loterie Romande, licensed to accept bets from Swiss punters. The country maintains a blacklist of unauthorized gambling and sports betting sites and asked Internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to any of them.
Despite the efforts of the country to clamp down on illegal gambling activities, many Swiss punters have found a way to bypass the law and bet at international sportsbooks. The list below will help you choose a reliable betting site that accepts Swiss bettors.
Best Sports Betting Bonuses in Switzerland
Promotions are an integral part of every sportsbook. After all, that is the first thing that attracts the attention of bettors. Sports betting promotions come in all shapes and sizes. However, punters must carefully read the fine print before claiming a bonus. Usually, sports betting bonuses come with a whole slew of terms that bettors must meet.
Many betting sites geared toward the Swiss market offer a welcome bonus that will match your deposit by a certain percentage up to a given amount. Punters must add funds to their accounts to qualify for a match deposit bonus. Usually, such promotions come with wagering requirements and minimum odds restrictions. Note that you have a limited time to meet the playthrough condition.
A free bet is another generous promotion available to Swiss punters. If you claim a free bet bonus, you can place a wager without using funds from your cash balance. Thus, if the bet loses, you will not lose anything. If your bet wins, you will collect the profit associated with the specific stake. Note that you cannot withdraw the money from your free bet.
Some betting sites treat newcomers from Switzerland to risk-free bets, providing them with the opportunity to receive a refund if their wager loses. But risk-free bets are not entirely safe because the refund is credited as free bets. Punters can use the free bet only to place a wager on a sporting event with minimum odds specified by the operator.
Accumulator bets allow sports fans to combine multiple selections into one wager. Punters will generate a profit only if all legs win. Luckily, many Switzerland-friendly betting sites offer the so-called Acca insurance. This promotion gives punters the chance to get their stakes back if the accumulator bet lets them down by one selection. To qualify for this promotion, you must place an accumulator bet with a minimum number of selections. Besides, you have to comply with the minimum odds requirement per selection.
Betting Regulation in Switzerland
In 1923, Switzerland passed the Lotteries and Commercial Betting Act, banning all forms of gambling activities, including lotteries. A curious fact is that the legislation also gave rights to the different cantons to regulate lotteries and use the raised funds for good causes.
But in 1993, Switzerland faced a financial crisis, which made the government propose a referendum to legalize casinos. As a result, the Federal Act on Games of Chance and Casinos was passed in 1998, according to which land-based casinos can legally operate in Switzerland.
In 2006, Comlot was established to monitor inter-cantonal gambling activities. In 2009, the Swiss Federal Gaming Board issued a preliminary report, advising legislators to regulate online gambling, establish an agency to fight against gambling problems, set up a tax regime, and block unlicensed betting sites.
In September 2017, the Swiss parliament passed the Money Gaming Act, which came into effect in 2019 after Swiss voters approved it. The new legislation stipulates that land-based casinos can go online, while foreign operators must partner with one of the Swiss casinos to obtain a license from Switzerland’s regulator.
Switzerland Passes the Money Gaming Act
Switzerland has 26 cantons, with each having the right to introduce gambling regulations for local events. Besides, gambling in Switzerland is regulated on a federal level. The legal landscape in Switzerland can be compared to the one in the United States, where gambling and sports betting activities are governed by federal and state laws.
For years, online gambling activities in Switzerland were illegal. But in 2018, Switzerland passed the Money Gaming Act (MGA) to legalize online gambling and sports betting activities. The new changes came into force in 2019, allowing land-based casinos to go online. Under the new legislation, foreign operators are also allowed to obtain a Swiss gambling license if they fulfill the licensing conditions and partner with a Switzerland-based brick-and-mortar casino.
The Swiss Federal Gaming Board is the authority responsible for issuing gambling licenses. Casino operators who want to enter the Swiss market should know that the maximum number of online casino licenses that can be issued is 21, and 11 have already been awarded.
Small-Scale and Large-Scale Sports Betting Explained
Interestingly, the law differentiates between casino games, lotteries, sports betting, and skill games. Lotteries, sports betting, and skill games can be classified as large-scale (carried out in an automated or cross-cantonal manner or online) and small-scale games (held within the borders of a canton).
Small-scale sports betting is regulated on a cantonal level. What is characteristic of small-scale sports betting is that punters can wager up to CHF 200 per bet and CHF 200,000 in total on one competition per day.
Large-scale lotteries and sports betting can be offered by two companies only, including Swisslos and Loterie Romande. The former caters to the needs of Swiss punters residing in the German-speaking cantons, while the latter is aimed at bettors from the French-speaking cantons. Both companies offer various betting options and maintain separate mobile apps for sports betting and lotteries.
Important Restrictions Swiss Punters Should Know
Gespa, formerly known as Comlot, is the authority that regulates the sports betting industry and lotteries. ISPs blocked access to unlicensed gambling and betting sites upon request of the Swiss government. Furthermore, the government asked financial institutions to stop facilitating transactions to and from offshore casinos and sportsbooks.
Swiss punters can legally place wagers on various sporting events through the betting sites owned by Swisslos and Loterie Romande. However, individuals below 18 years old are not allowed to participate in gambling and sports betting activities. No taxes apply on winnings of up to CHF 1,000 generated from large-scale online sports betting. However, profits generated from foreign sportsbooks and casinos are fully taxed.
Are there any licensed foreign betting companies in Switzerland?
At the moment of writing, the only companies allowed to offer online sports betting services in Switzerland are Swisslos and Loterie Romand. Thus far, no foreign betting company has received a license to operate on Swiss soil. On the other hand, international casino operators who cooperate with a Swiss casino can obtain a gambling license from the Swiss Federal Gambling Board.
What payment solutions do Switzerland-friendly sportsbooks offer?
Foreign betting sites that accept Swiss punters usually support a range of payment methods to correspond to every bettor’s needs. However, Swiss sports fans may have their card payments declined because the Swiss government requested financial institutions to block payments to and from unlicensed sportsbooks and casinos. However, Swiss punters can resort to digital wallets such as Skrill and Neteller. Twint is a popular mobile payment solution in Switzerland.
What is the difference between small-scale and large-scale sports betting?
Small-scale sports betting is not executed automatically or online and is regulated by the respective cantonal authorities. Besides, punters can wager up to CHF 200 per bet (or CHF 200,000 in total on one competition per day) on cantonal sports betting events. By contrast, large-scale sports betting can take place online and is inter-cantonal. Thus, Gespa is the authority tasked with overseeing large-scale betting.
What is the minimum deposit accepted at Switzerland-friendly sportsbooks?
The least amount you can deposit to your sports betting account varies wildly from one sportsbook to another. The minimum deposit may also depend on the payment method you select. Usually, betting sites allow Swiss punters to deposit an amount starting from just CHF 15 or CHF 20.
What is the best online sports betting bonus in Switzerland?
Online betting sites usually pamper their Swiss registrants with mouth-watering bonuses right from the beginning. Depending on the betting site you join, you can claim free bets, risk-free bets, match deposit bonuses, and others. Some sportsbooks even offer enhanced odds on various betting markets. To determine whether a sports betting bonus is worth your attention, familiarize yourself with its terms and conditions.