Switzerland’s casino operators have begun filing applications to offer online slots and table games starting this summer.
This week, Swiss media reported that the Federal Gaming Board (ESBK) had received four online casino license applications from the operators of land-based venues Grand Casino Baden, Grand Casino Davos, Grand Casino Lucerne and Casino Zurichsee.
In February, Swiss media reported that Grand Casino Kursaal Bern had also filed an online casino application on behalf of itself and an unspecified “large technology partner.” But the latest reports indicate that the Bern casino and its sister operation in Neuchâtel have yet to formally submit their paperwork, which will likely delay their online launch until after the other four venues.
Under the new gambling law approved in a national referendum last summer, Swiss casino operators must have their online games technically certified and ensure that their technology partners have a ‘good reputation’ aka not serving Swiss punters without local permission at any point over the past five years.
Since the new Swiss laws were approved, the four casino applicants have been busy signing deals with international technology partners. Swiss Casinos, which operates Casino Zurichsee, has partnered with UK-listed tech providers Playtech, while Casino Davos has teamed up with Belgium’s Ardent Group.
Grand Casino Baden, which is owned by Stadtcasino Baden Group (which also has a 47% stake in Casino Davos), will reportedly transition its existing freeplay gaming site Jackpots.ch into a real-money gaming operation while the Davos property will operate under Ardent’s Casino777 brand.
The Jackpots site, which had 12k registered customers at the end of last year, was originally powered by Ardent’s B2B division Gaming1. However, in February, Stadtcasino took a 50% stake in local platform and game developer Gamanza Group, and Stadtcasino reportedly plans to use this relationship to ensure control of its own online gambling destiny.
As of July 1, local internet service providers will be required to block the domains of international gambling operators that still serve Swiss customers. The ISPs have been vocal in their opposition to these requirements, which they say will be both ineffective and cost-prohibitive.
Swiss-licensed online operators will be given a six-year exclusivity window in which to build strong relationships with local gamblers before any international standalone rivals will even be considered for licensing.