18.12.2023

by Mateusz Mazur

Liechtenstein Defers Online Gambling Licenses Until 2028

In a significant development for the European gambling market, the Liechtenstein government has announced its decision to postpone the issuance of online gambling licenses until the end of 2028.

Liechtenstein Defers Online Gambling Licenses Until 2028 Amid Market Concerns

This delay, marking the latest in a series of setbacks, reflects the country’s cautious approach towards launching its iGaming market.

Implications for Liechtenstein’s Land-Based Casino Industry

The decision to delay the online casino launch stems from concerns about the potential impact on Liechtenstein’s flourishing land-based casino industry.

In 2022, this sector was a major contributor to the state’s revenue, generating €50 million (US$54.24 million) in taxes. The government’s decision indicates a preference for protecting this established revenue stream.

The delay also comes in the wake of resistance within Liechtenstein, including a failed citizen-led initiative to ban all casinos.

Additionally, the thriving online gambling market in neighboring Switzerland may have influenced this decision, as Liechtenstein seeks to avoid potential issues related to cross-border gambling.

The Future of Liechtenstein’s Online Gambling Market

Despite these setbacks, Liechtenstein remains committed to eventually launching an online casino market. However, the specific timeline for this remains uncertain.

This indefinite delay poses challenges for the diversification of Liechtenstein’s economy, which has been reliant on traditional sectors like banking and tourism. The online gambling market was seen as a new avenue for economic growth.

The postponement is likely to deter new investment in Liechtenstein’s gambling industry. Potential investors might hesitate to engage with a market that lacks a clear developmental roadmap.

Liechtenstein’s Gambling Regulations and International Relations

As a member of the European Union, Liechtenstein allows operators from other EU countries access to its gambling market. Without local gambling licenses, the government cannot prosecute players who gamble on foreign sites. This policy aligns with the EU’s principles but creates a regulatory “grey area” in the country.

Furthermore, Liechtenstein’s sports betting landscape, legal since 2010, operates without local betting shops or online bookmakers, though international sports betting companies do accept bets from its citizens.

The country is also set to strengthen its gambling regulations through a data-sharing agreement with Switzerland, targeting banned players. This agreement is expected to be operational next year, following approval from the Swiss parliament.

Our Comment on the Article

Liechtenstein’s decision to delay its online gambling licenses reflects a cautious but strategic approach in balancing its existing land-based casino success with the emerging online gambling sector.

This move, while protective of current revenue streams, highlights the complex dynamics and regional influences in the European iGaming landscape.

As the country navigates these challenges, its ability to adapt to evolving market conditions while fostering a stable regulatory environment will be crucial in shaping its future role in the international gambling industry.

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