TOP CASINOS IN SWITZERLAND
Switzerland’s gambling laws were overhauled in 2019, restricting online gambling to only a handful of authorised casinos in the country. Needless to say, this almost seismic change has induced panic in the industry. The good news is that we know our way around the system. And we want to share our top tips so that you can start to roll the dice (or pull the lever, whatever you’re into) and set the wheel of winnings in motion. When it comes to online casinos in Switzerland, abundance is the buzzword.
Gambling Legal Landscape in Switzerland
So, in 2019 Switzerland voted to carry out a massive change to its gambling laws. It threw its previously (semi) liberal approach down the mountainside and only allowed online casinos in Switzerland that are certified by the Swiss government. No Swiss certification, no licence to operate in the country. In theory. At face value, this measure has changed pretty much everything for anyone trying to use online casinos in Switzerland.
In reality, not so much. The basic facts remain that online casinos in Switzerland (or elsewhere) are not really tied to a specific country. Globalisation and online gambling are wonderful things that laugh in the face of country borders. Which, in the 21st century, is as it should be. So, hold fast to your seats and make sure you have enough Swiss chocolates to keep you company. We are about to take you on a whirlwind tour of the entire gambling landscape for online and brick-and-mortar casinos in Switzerland.
Let’s start from the beginning. Remember when we mentioned Switzerland’s previously (semi) liberal approach to gambling? Well, this was a bit of a white lie. In truth, the best way to describe Switzerland’s relationship with gambling would be ‘it’s complicated’. The government doesn’t put out, but the people are very happy to reach third base with any online casino in Switzerland that makes gooey eyes at them, the hussies.
Quite the quandary. How did the Swiss government sort things out? By doing what governments do best – ruin the fun for everyone. Which basically means that, between 1921 and 1993, the country totally banned all gambling. Brutal. The reasoning behind this blanket ban was suspect at best. Clearly following a ‘father knows best’ style of government, it was decided that gambling was way too popular in Switzerland. And thus, the Swiss needed to be protected.
For Switzerland, the warnings were in place as early as 1547. This is when Reformation philosopher John Calvin rang the bells of doom against “playing games for gold or silver” and tried to turn all of Geneva against the pastime that they were evidently much enjoying. The bells of doom rang for nothing, of course. And everyone continued gambling merrily away. Until 1921, when gambling was officially gambling. Do not pass go. Do not collect $100. Just stop gambling if you want to save your soul.
Only, it would appear that fun and games were higher on the Swiss agenda than any attractions heaven could offer. And, guess what. Everyone continued gambling merrily away, despite the fact that the ‘ban’ lasted for a full seven decades – right until 1993, in fact.
And even with the new legislation, the Swiss government insisted on playing hard to get. The gambling restriction was not fully overthrown, and only limited-stakes casino gambling was allowed. In 1998, yet another change to the law was made, with casinos being divided into two categories. The first category are those casinos with no limits on the number of slots they house, while the second category comes with a limit of 150.
But the first significant change was yet to come. In April 2000, much to the delight of Swiss gamblers, unlimited stakes gambling was allowed for the first time in Switzerland. After all, those Swiss bank accounts are not going to fill themselves, right? Gambling is divided into the two categories of games of skill and games of chance, with only games of chance allowed in Switzerland casinos.
Which brings us right to online casinos in Switzerland. On paper, rather than becoming more liberal, the situation has actually become more prohibitive. Online casinos in Switzerland are regulated by a law from 1998, which forbids Swiss residents from playing games of chance using the Internet. Of course, once again all government warnings fell on deaf ears and everyone continued on their merry way, using online casinos in Switzerland that weren’t actually Swiss. The fact that Switzerland’s national languages include French, German and Italian made it very easy from players from any part of country to find good online casinos in Switzerland that cater to their linguistic needs. And, on a more practical level, Swiss banks had no problem moving funds to online operators. Once again, the good, old Swiss banking system came up trumps.
So how did government decide to solve this? By introducing an even weirder piece of legislation that limits players to only using licensed online casinos in Switzerland. Basically, if you’re not on the approved list of operators, it’s a no go. Well, guess how well this new law is working out. That’s right. As well as my voice after a night of karaoke in a dodgy downtown joint.
All it’s taking for people to use online casinos in Switzerland is a very basic awareness of VPNs and cryptocurrencies, and the gambling world’s our oyster once again.
The actual steps of changing your location and currency are easy as pie for anyone who is familiar with internet. And, the actual process of starting to play at a Swiss casino should remain pretty much the same as anywhere else in Europe. Even when laws change, the basic way in which casinos operate and the information they need don’t. To put it simply, the registration process for online casinos in Switzerland should essentially remain the same.
Online casinos in past years have attracted a bit of an undeserved reputation for having complicated registration processes. We’re here to bust this myth. If an online casino in Switzerland or elsewhere is giving you grief over registering, move on to the next. Heavens know there are more than enough fish in this cyber world of gambling to keep us all happy. The process should be no different to opening, say, an Amazon account.
Are Your Swiss Casino Winnings Taxed?
So Christmas came early and your preferred online casino in Switzerland delivered on your winnings. Three cheers to you, and you’d best be taking me out to dinner unless you want bad Google karma to descend upon you. Joking apart, you’re likely to be asking yourself whether government – that same government that doesn’t want you using online casinos in Switzerland – is going to claim a portion of your winnings. In other words, are you expected to pay tax? And, if yes, is there any way you can legally avoid paying them?
Let’s start with the bad news. Not all the fruits of gambling are tax exempt. Swiss laws put a very big distinction between gambling, betting and lotteries. Winnings from betting and from lotteries are considered as a form of income, and are taxed at a whopping 35% if they exceed CHF50.
On to the good news. Casino winnings are not taxed. Which leads us to the next question: is there any way you can legally avoid paying tax on betting? To put it bluntly – and let’s hope the Big Swiss Brother is not checking up on this – betting income from foreign operators remains a big question mark. Is it taxable? Probably, yes. Can this tax requirement be enforced? Probably, no.
You didn’t hear it from us.
Casino Bonuses for Swiss Players
Swiss players have access to excellent promotions available for both new and continuing players. Casino bonuses range from welcome bonuses to free spins and daily to monthly promotions. These offers come in handy to boost your bankroll and increase your chances of winning. However, most bonuses have wagering requirements that must be met before you qualify to withdraw any winnings obtained using the bonus amount. Some of the bonuses offered at online casino Schweiz include:
These are probably the most lucrative offers that online casinos use to attract new customers. Welcome bonuses are only available to new players and are activated after signing up, while some require you to make your first deposits to claim. These offers can be in the form of free spins, no-deposit bonuses, and matched offers.
No-deposit bonuses do not require you to make a deposit, and they can either be free spins or free cash. In this case, you only need to open a new account and verify your details, and the bonus will be credited to your account. On the other hand, matched bonuses require you to fund your account, and most casino online Switzerland extend this offer up to your third deposit.
Apart from the deposit bonuses available to new players, existing players are also awarded matched offers whenever they fund their accounts. Most of these offers are available during specific days, weekends, or holidays. Deposit offers also vary among casinos, and you can check the ‘Promotion Section’ to see the available options.
Cashback offers are becoming popular among Swiss players mostly because you get some cushioning from your net loss. Ideally, when on a losing streak, the casino offers you back a percentage of the money you have lost in the form of bonus money. The cashback percentage often ranges from 5% to 30%.
Free Spins Bonuses
Free spins bonuses are linked to slot games, and they allow you to play particular games without risking your money. Some casinos will have the free spins restricted to specific games, while others allow you to play any of your favorite slots. Although you don’t use your money during free spins, you might be required to meet set wagering requirements before you can withdraw your winnings.
As the name suggests, no-deposit bonuses do not require you to fund your account. These can be part of the welcome package or promotions for ongoing players. Switzerland casinos offer no-deposit bonuses in the form of free cash or free wagers. Unlike deposit bonuses, no-deposit offers are often limited in the number of free spins or free cash you can receive.
High Roller Bonus
High roller bonuses target players who deposit and wager large sums of cash. High rolling and big spending players often get special treatments at casinos as part of VIP programs. The high roller bonuses are tailored to suit their lavish spending lifestyle. These offers could include exclusive deposit bonuses, luxury vacation packages, invites to exclusive events, faster withdrawals, and personalized customer care service.
A Guide to Helping You Choose Your Favourite Online Casino in Switzerland
Step One: See if the promotions catch your eye
The importance of promotions really varies from one person to another. For some, they are a vital part of the experience. For others, they are just a nice little extra, but not something they spend too much time considering. However, we’d advise that if the latter sounds like you, that you still look a little closer. That’s because not only can casino bonuses nowadays be a lot more varied and creative than they were at the turn of the millennium, but also because bonuses are a really great way of getting an idea of what a betting site is like in general.
There are two very important things to take into account when deciding on the best online casinos in Switzerland – or anywhere else for that matter. These come down to whether the site is both objectively and subjectively good. What we mean by this is that certain things are objectively good, which means pretty much everyone can agree on them. So, for instance, having a customer service team and games which work well are objectively good things, because we can’t imagine anyone would desire the opposite. Subjectively good things are when design, aesthetic and creative features appeal to your personal tastes. But they are subjective, as others might disagree due to their different tastes.
Another consideration is that the promotional offerings are actually relevant to how you like to use a casino site. For instance, if they have a great bonus but only for a game that you don’t play, then it’s not useful to you. That would be subjectively bad. They are things where there is no right or wrong answer.
What makes promotions so very useful then, is that a good promotional page has to be a bit of both. On the subjectively good side of things, you’ll want to be intrigued by its promotional offering in a creative and imaginative sense. The way the page is designed should also match with the kind of things you like in a betting site. For instance, a focus on a game type you like or one which provides bonuses that match up with how much you want to deposit. This brings us to our next point…
Step Two: What about those terms and conditions?
Another area where the objective and the subjective meet is in the terms and conditions. Let’s face it, there are some examples that are just out and out bad. Generally, you have an offer that seems too good to be true. However, when you take a closer look, it turns out that you’ll never see a penny of your bonus money due to wagering requirements, or you need to deposit more than any normal person ever would.
However, there are examples which are more preference-based. For example, many terms will specify that only a certain type of game will count towards a wagering requirement. How useful this is to you depends on what kind of games you want to play. Similarly, the wagering requirement amount – assuming it is reasonable – can also have its usefulness, depending on how much you intend to bet. An ideal example of a promotional selection, therefore, would be one which has all of these bases covered with relevant examples for all kinds of players, from the casual ones to high rollers. There are also other things to take into account like the maximum winning amount, time limits and, of course, the actual promotional code itself which allows you to unlock the bonus.
Think of looking at the promotions as being a first test and an overview to see whether it catches your imagination. Then, your second look should be like zooming in on what interests you to examine whether they are actually valuable and worth your while. No matter how important promotions matter to you personally, when it comes to picking a Swiss online casino, we’re sure that you’ll gain a much deeper understanding of the operator when all of this is said and done.
Step Three: Check they have games you like
As well as seeing if the promotions cater to the games you like, you should ensure that the site actually has those games in the first place. This may seem like a no-brainer and in all honesty, if you have picked a half decent site and you don’t have unusual tastes, then it’s very likely you’ll be well catered for.
However, there’s another side to this, and that’s the game quality. For example, you may have slot games, but how good are those slot games? Luckily, the vast majority of options out there do allow you to play their games for free in order to entice you into picking their casino out of all the other options that are available. Some of the popular slot games among Swiss players include Mega Moolah by Microgaming, IGT’s Cleopatra, Book of the Dead by Play’n Go, Dead or Alive and Gonzo’s Quest by NetEnt.
Another great way of checking the game quality is to see if they have any verification that they have been independently proven to be both fair and random. Finally, you can also look at who created the games themselves. There are many great software developers, with names like Microgaming and Play’n Go being examples of two well-known for their quality.
This is also worth doing because it can open up a new way of finding games to play. You may find you have a favourite software developer and that can make the searching process much easier. Finally, it’s a good idea to check for what live casino options they have, assuming that is something you are interested in. Popular live dealer casino games in casino online Switzerland include live roulette, live baccarat, live blackjack, live poker, and sic bo among others.
Step Four: Make sure they support your preferred payment method
This is another step which seems pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised by how often it is overlooked. Most quality betting sites offer a wide variety of payment options, and this information should be easy to find and readily available. It will usually be outlined in a help or terms and conditions section or should become apparent during the registration process.
Nonetheless, make sure to double-check the casino site offers your preferred payment method to avoid disappointment. Furthermore, you’ll also want to check things like processing times and fees to ensure you’re not being ripped off in that department either. If you can’t find this information on site, simply enquire with customer services.
Step Five: Ready to sign up to online casinos in Switzerland?
First off, have a good think over all the research you have done so far before you come to a sign up. Once you’re happy, it’s time to hit the registration forms.
Don’t be concerned about what is asked here. As we said, it’s the type of thing you should be very familiar with if you are used to any kind of internet transaction. There are a couple of differences here though. For instance, you should be given additional options to set limits on how much you spend. In fact, not having that option is a pretty negative thing for a betting site. It’s not a deal-breaker for many, but it is certainly something to consider. Beyond that, you’ll simply need to input your account and personal details, like your e-mail, home address, name, currency and so on.
One important point to remember is the one person per account rule, which can extend to your home and even IP address, depending on the rules of that individual site. The next important thing would be your password. This has to be both strong and unique to avoid your account being at risk. The site can do everything possible security-wise on their end, but they can’t help you against a weak password. If you’re happy with all your information, accept the terms and conditions, confirm your details and you are ready to play.
What Payment Methods are Available at Online Casinos in Switzerland?
So we’ve sorted the issue of whether we’ll manage to find good online casinos in Switzerland where we can channel our inner gambling Queen. The next step is to show us the money, baby. We’ve already mentioned the importance of ensuring that the chosen online casino carries your preferred method of payment. Chances are, if you’re in Switzerland, your preferred choice of currency is … Swiss Francs (CHF).
On the positive side, a good number of online casinos in Switzerland, whether they are on the approved list or not, will accept Swiss Francs. Will Swiss law interfere with this? No, mostly because Swiss gaming laws don’t target banks, but gamblers, so they won’t really care where you’re putting your hard-earned Francs. You can confidently move your money from your Swiss bank to your chosen online casinos in Switzerland in order to fund your accounts. So, if they accept Swiss Francs, go ahead and let the games begin.
What if they don’t? Worry not – the games will begin anyway. All major online casinos offer plenty of payment options, including credit cards and debit cards. Some, like BitStarz and CryptoWild also accept cryptocurrency. And, if none of these methods find your favour, there are always e-wallet options such as Neteller and Skrill. Here’s a quick rundown of the top payment methods that don’t include Swiss Francs.
And if you’re wondering about withdrawals, online casinos will usually pay using the same way you made your deposit.
- Debit/Credit Card
You might not be able to pay with cash at online casinos in Switzerland just yet – even the Swiss aren’t that innovative – but the closest option to it has to be the trusted debit or credit card. It’s available pretty much everywhere on the internet and, unless you’ve been living off a bartering system for the past few decades, we’re sure you already know how it works.
While Switzerland is notoriously slow on the uptake of new payment methods, including e-wallets, this won’t affect you when using online casinos in Switzerland. As explained before, the rules of your preferred online casino with respect to payments and withdrawals do not change according to country. Moreover, among the Swiss themselves, the tide is now shifting further towards the future. However, among the country’s nationals, the favourite e-wallet option for the moment is the one which is a household name across the world: PayPal.
Of course, if you’re using an online casino in Switzerland and you are looking a different way of paying online – especially if you want to remain anonymous and secure – cryptocurrency remains your best bet. And, when it comes to cryptocurrency, we always advise opting for Bitcoin, the biggest and most widely used crypto coin by a large margin.
E-wallets are just as secure and anonymous as cryptocurrency, when used well. The two most popular remain Neteller and Skrill and, if you’re using an online casino in Switzerland that doesn’t accept Francs, these are both very good options. A Neteller or Skrill account allows you to pay and play online, send and receive money and make fast and secure online payments whenever you need. Registration is simple and free.
The process is just as simple. You sign in, add funds to your account via various deposit methods (no different to a normal Amazon, Ebay or Paypal account) and you can start playing or trading. So, to recap: reputable names, secure systems, a proven trackrecord, and total anonymity – it’s a no-brainer, really.
How Do You Know If Online Casinos in Switzerland Are Trustworthy?
To put it simply – by using the same methods of checking whether any site is trustworthy. Although there might be changes in the law in Switzerland, this doesn’t change the basic principles of what makes a casino site reliable or not, although one of the tests of reliability may be hampered by these recent changes. As we’re expecting a whole host of new Swiss casinos, it can be very hard to gauge customer feedback over such a short period of time. Online casinos gain their reputation over a long period, and, of course, such swift changes make this difficult. It is actually much easier to understand the reputation of sites in other areas of Europe because they have often been around for much, much longer. However, there are other ways to measure reliability.
We’ve talked about the things you should do before you sign up, and plenty of them had in mind the fact that you can tell a lot about a betting site by looking around and playing the games yourself. If nothing else, it should show you that a certain amount of effort has gone into creating this website. And while this doesn’t mean you should go forward with the site unquestioningly, it is a good start.
Another way of gauging reliability is through critical opinion and reviews, the kind you’ll find on this very site. Other things to look for are privacy policies and the use of SSL encryption to keep user data secure. Another is licensing, which we will cover in more detail in our following section.
What’s the Deal With Licensing for Online Casinos in Switzerland?
Just as the country’s general gambling policies are complicated, so is the situation with licensing. Regardless, all you need to know is that as of 2019, online gaming – just like land-based gaming – is covered by the Swiss Federal Gaming Board.
Believe it or not, there was no regulatory body for online gaming before this point. This includes casino games in general, as well as poker and bingo. Obviously, if you choose to register with an online casino without a licence, you are putting yourself at enormous financial risk.
You may choose to go with a casino outside of Switzerland. In which case, licensing is every bit as important. There are plenty of trustworthy license providers and regulators out there that you should look out for, like the Malta Gaming Authority or Gibraltar Gaming Commissioner, to give a couple of examples, but there are many more.
What are Some Popular Casino Games I Can Play at the Best Online Casinos in Switzerland?
Recent political shifts may have complicated matters for Swiss players, but there is nothing complex about the country’s obvious love for casino games. Their tastes tend to be both traditional, as is probably expected. Of course, there’s a huge amount of game options to choose from and we couldn’t possibly cover them all here. So, we’re instead going to select three popular examples to give you an idea of what is available at online casinos in Switzerland.
For a country which likes to keep things old school in a lot of ways, there’s no casino game which defines classic quite as much as poker. It comes in various forms, from Texas Hold’em to Three Card Stud. However, each variety distinguishes itself by being much more of a game of skill rather than chance compared to most other casino games.
One area in which the Swiss have embraced the new online casino world is with slots. Although, of course, the classic slot machine options still remain, video slots have by far taken over as the more popular options. This is thanks to the sheer possibilities they offer, from designs and themes, sponsorships and new ways to play.
Another game that is loved for its simplicity, bingo is a straightforward game of probability, where you mark off numbers on cards and win through various combinations. There are different versions of this game but generally, you can win via getting all four corners, a line, two lines or a full house where you fill in the entire ticket.
Much like the rest of Europe, Switzerland has joined the craze for online gambling and offers a great selection of reputable online Swiss casinos where Swiss nationals are welcome to enjoy all sorts of games. Some also accept Swiss Francs and will also offer a dedicated multi-lingual website and targeted customer support. In short, there’s nothing to stop you from enjoying online Swiss casinos – may fortune smile on you!