Liechtenstein Banning Online Gaming Until 2028 at the Earliest

Posted on: December 15, 2023, 11:07h. 

Last updated on: December 15, 2023, 11:07h.

The launch of an online casino market in Liechtenstein has been postponed again. Despite initial expectations that the small European country would start licensing operators by the end of the year, it is now expected to be at least another five years before that occurs.

The flag of Liechtenstein flying against a background of Vaduz Castle
The flag of Liechtenstein flying against a background of Vaduz Castle. The country will continue a moratorium on the issuance of iGaming licenses for another five years. (Image: Getty Images)

The Liechtenstein government has announced that online gambling license processing will now be delayed until the end of 2028. This decision follows a series of postponements that have hindered the launch of the country’s iGaming market.

The delay, which is likely due to concerns about the impact on the domestic land-based casino industry, is expected to negatively affect the state treasury. Land-based casinos in Liechtenstein generated €50 million (US$54.24 million) in taxes in 2022, highlighting the stakes involved.

Political Intrigue

Further complicating matters are resistance movements against the traditional land-based casino market in Liechtenstein. An attempt to ban all casinos earlier this year failed to gain support among citizens. However, the government may be hesitant to move forward with online gaming initiatives amidst the ongoing political tensions.

Switzerland’s mature online gambling market is also a factor contributing to the delay. Swiss authorities are wary of potential cross-border gambling issues if Liechtenstein were to launch its online gambling market.

Despite these setbacks, fondly dubbed the Las Vegas of the Alps, Liechtenstein remains committed to launching an online casino market.
However, there is currently no concrete timeframe for when this might eventually happen.

Given the delay, the future of Liechtenstein’s gambling industry remains uncertain. Investors are hesitant to enter a market that has yet to fully materialize, posing significant challenges for the country’s plans to diversify its economy.

Partnering Up and Moving Forward

As an EU member, Liechtenstein allows access to its gambling market for operators from other EU countries. The absence of domestic gambling licenses makes it impossible for the government to prosecute players gambling on foreign sites within the country.

The uniqueness of Liechtenstein’s gambling laws extends to sports betting. While legalized in the country since 2010, there are no known betting shops or online bookies within Liechtenstein. This creates an unusual situation where major sports betting companies still accept wagers from Liechtensteiners.

In an attempt to strengthen the market, Liechtenstein and Switzerland have also formed a data-sharing agreement regarding banned players. This collaboration is expected to take effect following the conclusion of Switzerland’s parliamentary approval process and could further solidify the market.

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