Federal Office of Justice

Lotteries

There is a very wide variety of lotteries on offer in Switzerland, with entry being sold through a number of different distribution channels. In addition to the major number lottery which is drawn on Wednesdays and Saturdays and the recently launched Euro Millions, countless types of scratchcards and tear-off envelopes can be bought at various outlets, such as kiosks, post offices, tobacconists, etc. Currently available only in French-speaking Switzerland, there are also the "Tactilo" lottery machines in restaurants, bars etc., as well as other forms of electronically based gaming (e.g. Loto Express).

Statistically, every member of the Swiss population spends an average of around 312 francs a year on authorized lotteries (and betting). For more details on the individual lottery products and their turnovers, please refer to the Swiss lottery statistics website. A distinction is made here between large and small lotteries.

Large lotteries (with target amounts of over CHF 100,000) have been operated since 1 January 2003 by only two lottery companies. As of that date, the Interkantonale Landeslotterie, the Sport-Toto-Gesellschaft and SEVA merged to form the new Interkantonale Landeslotterie. Under the "SwissLos" brand it has since offered lotteries in all areas of German and Italian-speaking Switzerland. French-speaking cantons are served, as before, by Loterie Romande.

Small lotteries (target amounts of below CHF 100,000) have a limited geographical reach (local, regional or in some cases cantonal). They are generally held by small-scale organizers in connection with a wide variety of projects and events as a means of (part) financing them or raising their appeal. Traditional lotto games (bingo) are particularly popular and very widespread in certain parts of the country. Depending on the cantonal law which applies, prizes may be offered in the form of goods and/or money. Tombolas, which are generally organised at small, private society events, may also be held. They are subject to cantonal law exclusively and they are not permitted to offer money prizes.