Swiss casinos’ online partners need five-year ‘good reputation’


switzerland-casinos-online-gambling-partners-good-reputationSwitzerland’s casinos can’t choose an online gambling technology partner that has had any dealings with Swiss punters in the past five years, according to the government’s latest regulatory proposal.

In June, Swiss voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of the country’s new gambling law, under which only local casino operators can offer online gambling products. The law also requires Swiss internet service providers (ISPs) to block the domains of international sites currently serving Swiss punters without local authorization.

The new law is due to take effect on January 1, 2019 and Swiss regulators are currently holding a consultation with stakeholders on the nuts and bolts of how local casinos can take their action online. Chief among the topics being discussed are which technology providers will be eligible to assist the casinos in this endeavor.

Various models are being discussed, including pure game-licensing arrangements with foreign providers, allowing the international firm to supply everything but the casino brand, or joint ventures in which the international firm would be an active partner in the online operation.

A report this week in local daily Aargauer Zeitung indicates that the proposed regulations would bar companies that lack a ‘good reputation’ in the Swiss market, i.e. any company that has conducted any form of online gambling with Swiss customers at any point in the five years prior to reaching a deal with a local casino. And that leaves a whole lot of companies sitting on the sidelines.

Some Swiss casino operators have already lined up their online partners, including Stadtcasino Baden’s recent sale of 44% of its Casino Davos property to Belgium’s Ardent Group, whose Gaming1 B2B division powers the casino’s free-play site The Swiss Casinos group also has a variety of online free-play games supplied by Russia’s Connective Games.

A number of Switzerland’s land-based casinos are majority-owned by foreign firms that also have online gambling operations, including Novomatic, Casinos Austria and Barrière. The likelihood that these online divisions took action from Swiss punters over the last five years means these firms would be barred from using their own technology to power their Swiss-licensed online sites. Call that a Swiss miss…