1/5/10 – Switzerland is headed toward a significant online gambling liberalisation – and it's without any external legal pressure to do so, reports the MECN research company, which has just completed a survey on developments in the traditionally neutral country in association with the Swiss legal firm MME Partners.
Switzerland is a potential role model for other non-EU markets such as the United States, the study finds, despite the small national population of the country, which is no bigger than that of London in the UK.
Martin Oelbermann of MECN says that aside from its unforced decision to liberalise, there are other interesting aspects to the Swiss initiative:
1) While most EU countries are focusing liberalisation plans on the online sportsbetting and poker segments (for example France), Switzerland is concentrating on opening up the online casino segment. Therefore, all casino operators (online and offline), usually neglected in liberalisation plans, should pay close attention to the developments in Switzerland.
2) Switzerland additionally has a more enlightened approach to poker, a reason to hope that the online poker segment will also be included in the planned liberalisation.
3) Oelbermann says that Switzerland could prove to be a role model for other non-EU countries like the United States because it is one of the first western countries to open up parts of its gambling market solely as a result of the pressure from commercial competition in shape of foreign online companies. This fact has led many experts to suggest that non-EU markets could benefit from a closer study of the developments in Switzerland.
"The similarities between the Swiss and the US gambling market are clear," says Oelbermann. "Aside from the World Trade Organisation dispute, both countries can freely contemplate a potential liberalisation without being pressured by third parties such as the European Commission when reviewing and drafting their regulations.
"Moreover, both countries have a strong federal system that allows each state/canton to draft its own gambling regulations. Finding a binding and nationwide regulation for all states/cantons will be a key challenge for both.
"Last but not least, the gambling markets of the US and Switzerland are structured in similar ways."
MECN's report includes detailed analyses of a wealth of relevant topics, including up-to-date information about the ongoing liberalisation process, analyses of all market sectors, current market figures, and legal/regulatory and tax information. In total, the report has 41 pages and 19 graphics/exhibits – for more information visit www.swiss-gambling.mecn.net
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