There's good news for online poker players in Switzerland, as the country's parliament passed a new draft law to create a new regulated licensing regime for online gaming.
According to Poker Industry Pro, the gaming law calls for the formation of a new gaming regulatory authority consisting of representatives from the existing regional gambling regulators.
The regulatory will be responsible for creating a licensing regime for both local and international gaming companies. It is expected that residents in Switzerland will be allowed to play against a worldwide player based with gaming operators likely not forced to be ring-fenced to the country's nine million residents.
Falling outside the responsibility of the regulatory authority are private poker games, and the law also allows for small poker tournaments to be held outside of casinos.
Additionally, the ban on online gaming in the country has been immediately repealed, allowing the country's residents to legally wager online in advance of the new law being enforced on Jan. 1, 2019.
Residents of Switzerland should also be pleased to learn that most online gaming income — including that from online poker — will not be taxed by the country. However, income tax will continue to be levied on both lotteries and sports wagering.
Furthermore, taxes resulting from gaming will be designated for "charitable purposes, in particular in the fields of culture, social projects and sport."
While this news is certainly great for both online gaming enthusiasts and gaming operators, it isn't quite as rosy for the country's land-based casinos.
The Swiss Casino Association, which represents the interests of land-based casinos in Switzerland, expressed its dissatisfaction with the new draft law. Poker Industry Pro reported that the association objects to both allowing operators to obtain online gaming licenses outside of current licensed land-based casinos and immediately allowing residents of the country to gamble online.
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