Player’s guide to casinos and gambling in Switzerland
This site features our player’s guide to casinos and gambling in Switzerland, including the latest developments within the Swiss online casino sector. We have covered all the basics from gambling legislation within the country, its history, where the best casinos are, and some pointers regarding online gambling and Swiss online casinos. Please note that this site simply owns the domain spiritlakecasino.net and has nothing to do with an actual physical casino or business.
Keep reading to learn more about:
• The history of Gambling and Switzerland casinos
• Swiss Gambling Legislation
• The Top 5 (Land-Based) Casinos in Switzerland
• Swiss Online Casinos and Regulations
The history of Gambling and Switzerland casinos
For the majority of the 20th century, gambling was completely outlawed by Swiss authorities (although that doesn’t mean illegal gambling activities didn’t take place behind closed doors). It wasn’t until 1993 that the government overturned the ban, allowing limited-stakes games to be held in various casinos. New legislation came into place at the turn of the century that effectively allowed for unlimited stakes games on a range of casino games.
Since this turning point in Swiss gambling history, the industry has grown steadily, with around 20 land-based casinos dotted through this picturesque land-locked country. Many of these are located in large towns and cities found along the borders with France, Italy and Germany, and, as a result, tend to attract players from these neighboring countries who come for a day or two.
As well as casino gambling, other things such as the national lottery, state lotteries, horse racing and sports pools are also legal and regulated by both national and regional governing bodies.
Swiss Gambling Legislation
Just like with every land-based casino around the world, Swiss casinos that include ‘games of chance and jackpot systems’ must apply for and be awarded a license to operate in the country. This whole system is strictly regulated by The Swiss Federal Gaming Board (SFGB), although other certification offices which have been delegated include BMM Testlabs, GLI Austria GmbH, GLI Europe BV, NMi B. V, Nmi Gaming and SIQ, Slovenian Institute of Quality and Metrology.
A full list of regulatory procedures regarding Switzerland casinos can be found at: https://www.esbk.admin.ch/esbk/en/home.html
The Top 5 (Land-Based) Casinos in Switzerland
Here, we run you through a guide to some of the best casinos in Switzerland. Note, this is not a definitive list and the rankings are in no particular order.
1. The Grand Casino Baden
Not only one of the top casinos in Switzerland but also in the whole of Europe, this modern venue offers excellent gaming facilities as well as first-class amenities for guests. This includes a restaurant, a glamorous bar area and ballroom for special events. Open 365 days a year, inside you can find a great range of video slots, classic card games (with in-house dealers) and video-style versions of roulette. The casino is also well-known for its poker games and tournaments, and the annual Swiss Open Poker Championship is held here. Not to be confused with historical the Baden-Baden casino in Germany, this Swiss casino can be accessed easily by road or train from the nearby city of Zurich.
2. The Grand Casino Bern
The Grand Casino Bern (or Grand Casino Kursaal Bern to give it its full name) is another modern casino that attracts day-trippers, holidaymakers and a fair share of locals thanks to its location in Switzerland’s central region. Alongside a small supply of slot machines, the casino floor hosts multiple live roulette, blackjack and poker games with professional dealers at the tables. Most tables open from 14:00 and close in the early hours of the morning (02.00 or 04:00 depending on the day). As well as playing casino games, the surrounding city of Bern has plenty in the way of things to see and do, as well as a good supply of luxury hotels, perfect to use as a base to explore the surrounding countryside of Bern.
This mid-sized casino is one of the best places in Switzerland for slot machine players, with nearly 200 machines in total. Of these, you can find everything from classic fruit games, themed video slots with multi-paylines and plenty of progressive games that promise big wins if you hit the jackpot. Away from the slots, St. Gallen does host around 10 live games in total which include games like blackjack, roulette and craps. Located in the northeast of the country, St.Gallen is a pretty and historical city just south of the stunning Lake Constance – so well-worth a visit even if you are not coming for the casino.
4. Swiss Casinos Zürich
This glamorous casino in the capital in known for its large range of live games and sophisticated ambiance – so don’t forget to wear smart clothes and bring valid ID. Table games here include poker, blackjack, Punto Blanco, dice ball and American roulette. There are also video slots and jackpot machines, while you can spend your time away from the games in the swanky lounge, restaurant, bar or private members clubs. As this casino is located right in the heart of central Zurich, there are plenty of hotels and other entertainment options in the nearby area. Do note that Swiss Casinos Zürich is open every day of the year from 11:00 to 04.00 (05.00 on weekends) although live table games do not start until 14.00.
5. Casino Lugano
One of the very largest casinos in Switzerland, Lugano is home to around 350 slot machine and a whopping 32 table games. These include all of the classics such as Punto Blanco, roulette, poker, blackjack and baccarat. It should also be noted that this Switzerland casino has several different types of each game to choose from, including both American and French roulette, regular and mini Punto Blanco and various versions of poker. Situated in the south of the country, this casino proves to be a popular destination for Italian players thanks to the close proximity to the country.
Swiss Online Casinos and Regulations
For many years, all online casino gambling in Switzerland was completely banned, with online casinos blocked nationwide. Just a few years ago in 2015, this legislation was repealed and a new gaming regulatory authority was formed in order keep track of online activity.
Whilst at the tim eof writing legislation is yet to be fully implemented, it is likely that providers will need to apply for a license from the new gaming regulatory authority. Whether or not the license is awarded is likely to be based on a number of different things, such as whether the company can provide enough tax contribution, whether the company has enough capital to support itself and whether the games and rules on the website meet up to international standards.
We hope this information gives you a brief overview of the gambling and casino scene here in Switzerland. If you have any questions or feedback, please head over to our Contact page and get in touch!