Four licenses for Swiss Casinos, one new one in Winterthur
At its session on November, 29, 2023, the Federal Council decided on the granting of casino licenses for the period from 2025 to 2044. It granted Swiss Casinos four licenses for its locations in Zurich, St. Gallen and Pfäffikon (with an online casino) and a new one for Winterthur. Unfortunately, we were unable to convince the Federal Council to approve our license application in Oftringen. We are extremely pleased about the federal government’s confidence in our company and see this decision as a positive assessment of our management over the past twenty years.
In October 2022, Swiss Casinos submitted five license applications and one application for an additional online license for the following casinos:
- Casino Zurich: License extension
- Casino St. Gallen: License extension
- Casino Pfäffikon: License extension with an additional online license
- Casino Winterthur: Application for a new license
- Casino Oftringen: Application for a new license
We were aware from the outset that the application for a license in Oftringen posed a particular challenge. The Swiss Federal Gaming Board (SFGB) had prepared a report for the Federal Council in advance, in which it proposed the division of Switzerland into 23 zones. The Federal Council had approved this approach, but reserved the right to deviate from leading decisions when granting licenses in exceptional and justified cases if market conditions permit and the objectives of the Gambling Act can still be achieved . This statement encouraged us to apply for a license in Oftringen. Oftringen is located in the Basel zone, where there is already a successful casino. We considered a casino in Oftringen to be a welcome addition to the range of entertainment on offer for the growing Swiss Plateau region and the municipality of Oftringen. The Federal Council did not change the zones that had been specified and therefore rejected the license application. We regret this, but can understand the Federal Council’s decision.
We are therefore all the more pleased that we will be able to build and open a new casino in Winterthur. The planned casino in the listed former railway building in the Lokstadt district will help the city of Winterthur to preserve its rich industrial history. The combination of modern entertainment and industrial tradition will make Casino Winterthur a beacon for the entire region.
In the St. Gallen zone, the Federal Council had to decide between our existing casino and a competing application from ACE Holding. We are relieved that the Federal Council recognized our experience, our integration into the region and our careful management when giving preference to our application.
In Pfäffikon, Schwyz, we will open the casino at the new Halten location and offer an attractive nightlife experience for the region. Casino Pfäffikon also includes the online casino (swisscasinos.ch), which has proven itself to be very successful.
And last but not least, we will be able to further anchor our flagship casino in Zurich within the city and the surrounding region. Casino Zurich offers a wide and regularly changing selection of games and is an important player in the city’s nightlife scene.
The licenses are valid for a further 20 years from January 1, 2025.
We did not apply for another license for Casino Schaffhausen. The employees have received job offers in Winterthur or elsewhere within the Swiss Casinos Group. Casino Schaffhausen will cease operations at the end of 2024.
Hans Ulrich Rihs: «This decision shows us that the Federal Council has great trust in the Swiss Casinos Group, for which we thank you.»
Marc Baumann: «We are extremely pleased that the Federal Council has recognized our many years of experience and commitment with this decision. But we also regret that we were unable to convince him with our considerations about Oftringen.»
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our guests for their loyalty over the years, our employees for their daily commitment and the authorities for their open and supportive cooperation.
1 Activity report of the Swiss Federal Gaming Board 2022, page 18.