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Gambling in Switzerland

Swiss Betting Laws

Switzerland GamblingIn April of 2000, a law known as the Federal Law on Games of Chance and Casinos came into effect in Switzerland. For the first time since 1921, casino gambling with unlimited stakes would be allowed.

The law also divided gambling into two distinct categories: games of skill (like poker) and games of chance (slot machines). Under this law, games of chance are limited to specific areas like casinos and gaming arcades.

Swiss Casino Laws

In addition, casino taxation was also covered. Large casinos would be categorized as Type A and pay less taxes, while smaller casinos (considered Class B) would be asked to pay higher taxes.

To enter a casino and gamble in Switzerland, a person must be at least 20 years of age.

Internet Gambling in Switzerland

Internet gambling is illegal in Switzerland, although there are no models for prosecution. However, that hasn’t stopped citizens from enjoying the activity. Last year, the Swiss spent 0.3 billion Euros at online casinos. In 2005, they spent 36 Euros per capita on the pastime.

Sports and Pari-Mutuel Betting in Switzerland

Sports betting is not allowed in Switzerland, although many citizens still engage in the activity via the Internet. It is forbidden to advertise online gambling services in print, radio or television.

In essence, betting is forbidden under the Federal Lotteries and Commercial Betting Act (if it is organized as a commercial enterprise). However, individual regions can permit limited betting on a sporting event within that region.

Most sports betting in Switzerland is organized by either The Swisslos or the Loterie Romande. In the French-speaking part of the country, pari mutual betting on horse racing (among others) is offered by Loterie Romande.

Popularity of Gambling is Rising in Switzerland

In 2004, Swiss casinos took in $645 million, an increase over 37 percent from the previous year. While three-quarters of this income was generated by slot machine players, the popularity of the industry has continued in subsequent years. In 2006, Swiss citizens spent more than ever on gambling and lotteries, wagering a total of $2.31 billion.

Casinos in Switzerland

  • Casino Bad Ragaz (Hans-Albrecht-Strasse, Bad Ragaz) The casino is also connected to a hotel with 237 rooms. Hours of operation are Monday thru Thursday and Sunday from 2pm until 3am and Friday thru Saturday from 2pm until 4am. There are 125 gaming machines in all, plus 7 table and poker games (4 American Roulette, 2 Blackjack and 1 Casino Stud Poker).
  • Grand Casino Baden (Spielbank Baden AG, Baden) Opened daily from 3pm until 4:30am, the casino offers over 300 gaming machines and thirty table and poker games. Games include American Roulette, Baccarat, Blackjack, Chemin de Fer, French Roulette, Poker, Punto Banco, Roulette, Sic Bo and Wheel-of-Fortune.
  • Airport Casino Basel (Airport Route 225, Basel) Open Sunday thru Wednesday from noon until 3am and Thursday thru Saturday from noon until 4am. The casino features 340 gaming machines and seventeen table and poker games. There are also two restaurants and three bars in the facility. Games include American Roulette, Baccarat, Blackjack, French Roulette, Mini Punto Banco, Poker and Stud Poker.
  • Grand Casino Kursaal Bern (Kornhausstrasse 3, Bern) Open Sunday thru Wednesday from noon until 2am and Thursday thru Saturday from noon until 3am. The casino has a 3,606 square foot gaming area and offers both 255 gaming machines (including Tropical Stud Poker) and fifteen poker and table games. Games include Poker, Boule, Blackjack and American Roulette.
  • Casino du Jura (Sur Haute-Rive 1, Courrendlin) Features a restaurant, 89 gaming machines and 6 table games. Games include American Roulette, Blackjack, Boule, English Roulette and Stud Poker.
  • Casino Davos (Promenade 63, Davos-Platz) Features a restaurant and hotel with 100 rooms. Open until 2am in the summer and 3am in the winter. 68 gaming machines are offered, as well as various poker and table games. These include: American Roulette, Baccarat, Blackjack, Boule, Chemin de Fer, Craps, Poker, Punto Banco and Roulette.
  • Societe Fribourgeoise d’animation Touristiqe (Route du Lac 11, Granges-Paccot) This casino offers 104 gaming machines and 8 table games (2 American Roulette, 2 Blackjack, 2 English Roulette and 2 Poker tables). Open until 5am on the weekends.
  • Casino Interlaken (Strandbadstrasse, Interlaken) Open until 3am on Thursday thru Saturday. The casino has 120 gaming machines, 3 blackjack tables and 2 American Roulette tables.
  • Casino Locarno (Largo Zorzi 1, Locarno) This casino has 150 gaming machines (including 74 video poker machines) and nine table games. Games include Roulette, Caribbean Stud Poker, Blackjack and American Roulette.
  • Casino Lugano (Via Stauffacher 1, Lugano) Open until 4am on Friday and Saturday, this is the largest casino in Switzerland. 350 gaming machines are available on the casino floor, plus 32 table and poker games. Games include Punto Banco, Wheel-of-Fortune, Poker, Mini Punto Banco, French Roulette, Caribbean Stud Poker, Blackjack, American Roulette and Baccarat.
  • Grand Casino Luzern (Haldenstrasse 6, Luzern) Open daily from noon until 4am, the casino offers 10,947 square feet of gaming space. There are 245 gaming machines and 20 table and poker games. Games include Ultimate Texas Hold’em, Touch Bet Roulette, Punto Banco, Poker, Blackjack and American Roulette.
  • Casino Admiral (Via Angelo Maspoli 18, Mendrisio) Open until 5am on weekdays and 7am on the weekends. This casino offers 150 gaming machines and 31 table games. There are also two bars and one restaurant on the property. 18 American Roulette tables are available, as well as nine Blackjack tables.
  • Societe Casino du Lac Meyrin (Route de Pres-Bois 20, Meyrin) The casino has 150 gaming machines available and thirteen table and poker games. There are 6 American Roulette tables, 5 blackjack tables and 2 poker table.
  • Societe du Casino de Crans-Montana (3962 Crans-Montana 1, Montana-Vermala) Open from 3pm until 3am daily. Gaming tables open at 7pm. 120 gaming machines are present, as well as six table and poker games. Games include poker, blackjack and American roulette.
  • Casino de Monteux (Rue du Theatre 9, Montreux) 320 gaming machines are available, plus 23 table and poker games. The facility also offers three restaurants and two bars. Games offered include poker, Punto Banco, stud poker, French roulette, English roulette, craps and blackjack.
  • Casino Zurichsee (Seedamm Plaza, Pfaffikon) The casino has 19,000 square feet of gaming space, 150 gaming machines and 12 poker and table games. American Roulette, Poker and Blackjack are all offered.
  • CSA Casino Schaffhausen (Herrenacker 7, Schaffhausen) Open weekdays until 3am and weekends until 5am. 1,604 square feet of gaming space. 123 gaming machines (including Tropical Stud Poker) and nine table and poker games. Games include Poker, Blackjack and American Roulette.
  • Grand Casino St. Gallen (Grand Casino St. Gallen AG, St. Gallen) Open until 4am on Friday and Saturday. 188 gaming machines and 13 table and poker games. Available games include blackjack, poker, Texas Holdem and American roulette.
  • Casino St. Moritz (Via Mezdi 29, St. Moritz) 75 gaming machines are available, plus seven poker and table games. These games include poker, stud poker, blackjack and American roulette.

Swiss Cow Bingo

For a real change of pace, consider visiting the town of Ruswil, which is near Lucerne, Switzerland. There, a game called Swiss Cow Bingo is played.

750 fields are marked off on a pitch, leaving the area looking somewhat like a giant bingo card. Cows are then turned into the area, and participants try to bet on which field cow droppings will be deposited. Oddly, this game is also played in the United States.

The Swiss Lottery

The Swiss lottery has been coordinated by Loterie Romande and Swissos. But after facing fierce competition from the EuroMillions lottery organization, the government-sponsored groups entered into a partnership. Players have a 1-in-24 chance of winning and a 1-in-76 chance of winning the jackpot.

EuroMillions winners are drawn from among the various European nations which support the service (Spain, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg, Britain, Austria and Portugal).

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