The gaming supervisory authority ESBK (Swiss Federal Gaming Board) has published the latest sales figures for the strictly regulated Swiss gaming market. The casinos saw a year-over-year increase of 5.5 percent in 2019. Part of the growth is due to the advent of online gambling. What do the numbers look like in detail?
The Swiss gaming market can look back on a successful 2019. According to a report by ESBK, sales grew by 5.5 percent compared to the previous year. The growth spurt came after the country’s licensed casinos began offering online gambling offers to their customers in July. The income in this category amounted to the equivalent of around 22.1 million euros.
The total income of the 21 Swiss establishments amounted to around 698.4 million euros. Category A licensees, i.e. larger venues in urban areas, contributed around EUR 422.4 million to this, which corresponds to an increase of 5.3 percent compared to 2018. Category A includes Grand Casino Baden, Casino Davos, Grand Casino Luzern, Casino Pfäffikon, Grand Casino Bern and Casino Interlaken.
Category B licensees, that is, casinos in holiday resorts and smaller communities, generated revenues of EUR 276.1 million, an increase of 5.9 percent. Slots were the most popular in both categories, with slot machines generating EUR 576.8 million, an increase of 8.0 percent compared to 2018. The contribution from table games, however, fell by 5.4 percent to EUR 121.6 million.
In 2019, four land-based licensees started an iGaming offer, starting with the going live of the Jackpots.ch domain of the Grand Casino Baden on July 5th. For this purpose, the establishment has entered into a deal with the international market giant Evolution Gaming (Sweden).
The Grand Casino Luzern (MyCasino.ch), the Casino Pfaffikon Zürichsee (SwissCasinos.ch) and the Casino Davos (Casino777.ch) followed before the end of 2019. In addition, the Grand Casino Kursaal Bern and the Casino Interlaken also received online gambling licenses from the ESBK. International partnerships have been established with Casino777, NetEnt and the Gauselmann subsidiary Greentube, among others.
The MyCasino of the Grand Casino Luzern, operated by Paf, contributed the largest part of the income with 8.3 million euros. This was followed by the Playtech offer from Casino Pfaffikon Zürichsee, which after its opening on September 2nd achieved a turnover of 6.4 million euros. Grand Casino Baden, which acquired a 50 percent stake in the platform provider Gamanza, followed in third place with a turnover of 5.9 million euros.
Casino Davos, a gaming facility jointly owned by Stadtcasino Baden Group and the Belgian Ardent Group, took fourth place with 1.2 euros. The quartet paid taxes of around 7.1 million euros to the Swiss tax authorities. Tax revenue for 2019 rose by a total of 7.3 percent to EUR 335.5 million.
Strict Swiss gaming legislation
Since the beginning of 2019, one of the strictest and at the same time most controversial gambling laws in Europe has applied in Switzerland. The decree was passed by referendum. With a clear majority of around 73 to 27 percent, the citizens advocated that all non-licensed operators be banned from the market. The Swiss authorities have been following the implementation of the law with all their might.
Only the land-based casinos and gaming houses are allowed to offer online games of chance. To ensure this, the ESBK stepped up its enforcement activities against unlicensed providers. A blacklist was published. In this regard, the ESBK works with the Intercantonal Commission for Lotteries and Betting (Comlot) and the Swiss telecommunications authorities (Asut). Irregular providers are simply blocked.
The blacklist, a blacklist for international providers who do not have a Swiss online license, has been continuously expanded since the beginning of the year. Over 110 domains are now listed there, including well-known operators such as Bet365, Bet-at-Home and Interwetten. In addition, well-known e-sports betting providers such as Unikrn and GG.bet are among the names. The pages are blocked by a so-called Domain Name Server (DNS) block.
For information, the blacklist is permanently available to all citizens. As the ESBK explained, the measure is precisely defined in Article 86, Paragraph 1, of the new Gambling Act. You have all non-licensed providers g
given enough time to move away from the Swiss market. In this sense, further network blocks can be expected in the future.
The list was last expanded in March. Among other things, the Bet365.dk domain, which according to ESBK is the third Bet365 website to be added to the list, has been blocked. Other domains are Betbigwin.com, Efbet.net, Forzza7.com and three websites that use the Solobet brand, Sol0bet11.com, Solobet12.com and Solobet13.com. The current figures show that the stringent procedure does not affect the growth of the market.