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Operators line up to bid for new casino licences

gambling graphic: Oct 2000


Operators are scrambling to secure one of a limited number of casino licences. The Federal gambling commission said on Monday it had received 56 applications for a maximum of 25 licences available.

At stake are up to eight licences for "Grand Casinos", which will be able to offer higher betting limits than the maximum SFr5 ($2.91) currently allowed in Switzerland.

A further 15 to 20 licences for entertainment complexes (or "Kursäle"), with gambling facilities, are also being contested.

The president of the Federal gambling commission, Benno Schneider, said on Monday that half of the 56 bids registered by the deadline will have to be rejected, even if they fulfil all the criteria.

He said there had been 16 bids for Grand Casino licences, 28 for entertainment complexes and a further 12 for both.

He added that government had not yet decided when it would finalise the licences, but that it would some time "until the first ball starts rolling".

The decision to allow higher bets in the new casinos has been controversial, not least because of fears that they will be used for money laundering.

To win licences, operators will have to demonstrate that they have sufficient safeguards in place to prevent money laundering.

swissinfo with agencies

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