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Switzerland – Swiss retendering process sees 29 applicants for 23 casino licences

By - 18 November 2022

With the deadline for submitting licence applications in Switzerland, expiring on October 31, the Fedral Council has confirmed that 29 applicants are applying for the 23 licences.

Several applicants have applied for the same licence in four zones. In addition, 12 applicants requested an extension of the licence to operate online casino games.

On December 31 2024, the licences and concession extensions of the 21 Swiss casinos will expire. On April 27 2022, the Federal Council made fundamental decisions on the new award of the casino licences applicable from 2025. It approved the division of the territory of Switzerland into 23 zones and set the total number of concessions to be awarded at a maximum of 23 (maximum 10 type A concessions and a maximum of 13 type B concessions). A maximum of one concession of the specified concession type should be awarded per zone. The request for extension of the licence may be made at any time or for the entire duration of the licence.

On June 1 2022, the Swiss Federal Gaming Commission (SFBC), on behalf of the Federal Council, invited tenders for the award of the licences in an open procedure and invited all interested parties to apply. The deadline for submitting licence applications expired on October 31 2022.

A total of 29 licence applications were received, including 14 applications for an A licence and 15 applications for a B licence. At least one application was submitted for each of the 23 zones. At the same time, 12 applicants have applied for an extension of the licence to operate online casino games in addition to the licence application. Ten of these applicants already offer online games.

With one exception, all current casino operators would like to continue their land-based casino operations in the respective zone in the previous local municipality. The Swiss Casinos Group has decided not to submit a licence application for the current location in Schaffhausen and to apply for the new licence to be awarded in the Winterthur zone. However, a private investor group, MW Management & Event AG, wants to continue operating the casino in Schaffhausen and has applied for a concession for this.

In 19 zones (Baden-Aarau, Bern, Bernese Oberland East, Geneva, Fribourg, Jura, Lucerne, Lugano, Locarno, Mendrisio, Montreux, Neuchâtel, Northern Grisons, Southern Grisons, Sarganserland, Schaffhausen, Schwyz, Winterthur and Zurich), only one applicant applies for the concession to be awarded.

In four zones (Basel, St. Gallen, Lausanne, Valais), several applicants have applied to obtain the concession. In the Basel zone, in addition to the previous concessionaire based in the city of Basel, Swiss Casino Oftringen AG is applying for a concession to operate a casino in the municipality of Oftringen. In the St. Gallen zone, the previous casino operator and Casino Admiral Management AG are applying for the concession to be awarded. Both want to operate a casino in the city of St. Gallen.

In the Valais zone, three applicants are competing against each other: the previous concessionaire of the casino in Crans-Montana, Casino du Valais SA for the operation of a casino in the city of Sion and Casino des Alpes SA for such a casino in the city of Martigny.

Three applicants also applied in the Lausanne zone. GCDL SA intends to operate a casino in the city of Lausanne; Projet Casino Prilly SA is located in the commune of Prilly and Casino du Léman SA is located in the commune of Romanel-sur-Lausanne.

Further information on the applicants and the content of the individual applications will be communicated by the ESBK in spring 2023 after completion of the formal checks.

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