Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics

, Volume 152, Issue 3, pp 193–208 | Cite as

On the Regressivity of Gambling Taxes in Switzerland

Open Access


In this study, the author assesses whether the gambling tax in Switzerland is regressive using a large, representative sample of the population and the reported gambling expenditures of the Swiss Health Survey 2007 (SHS 07). To analyze the tax incidence, the Suits index was constructed. This result is supported by a regression analysis, which highlights the income elasticity of gambling expenditures The two measures provide converging results and demonstrate the regressive pattern of the gambling tax in Switzerland As such, this taxation structure contributes to increased income inequality in Switzerland.


Gambling taxes inequity regressivity incidence 


H22 D63 I14 I18 


  1. Abbott, M. W., and R. A. Volberg (2000), Taking the Pulse on Gambling and Problem Gambling in New Zealand: A Report on Phase One of the 1999 National Prevalence Survey, Wellington, New Zealand: Department of Internal Affairs.Google Scholar
  2. Abt, V., J.F. Smith, and E. M. Christiansen (1985), The Business of Risk: Commercial Gambling in Mainstream America, University Press of Kansas Lawrence, KSGoogle Scholar
  3. Blaszczynski, A., V. Dumlao, and M. Lange (1997), “‘How Much Do You Spend Gambling?’ Ambiguities in Survey Questionnaire Items”, Journal of Gambling Studies, 13(3), pp. 237–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blaszczynski, A., R. Ladouceur, A. Goulet, and C. Savard (2006) “‘How Much Do You Spend Gambling?’: Ambiguities in Questionnaire Items Assessing Expenditure”, International Gambling Studies, 6(2), pp. 123–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Clotfelter, C.T., and P.J. Cook (1987) “Implicit Taxation in Lottery Finance”, National Tax Journal, 40(4), pp. 533–546.Google Scholar
  6. Gerstein, D. R., R.A. Volberg, M.T. Toce, H. Harwood, R.A. Johnson, and T. Buie (1999), Gambling Impact and Behavior Study: Report to the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, Chicago: National Opinion Research CenterGoogle Scholar
  7. Hansen, A., A. D. Miyazaki, and D. E. Sprott (2000), “The Tax Incidence of Lotteries: Evidence from Five States”, Journal of Consumer Affairs, 34(2), pp. 182–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Macdonald, M., J. L. Mcmullan, and D.C. Perrier (2004), “Gambling Households in Canada”, Journal of Gambling Studies, 20(3), pp. 187–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Mason, P. M., S. L. Shapiro, and M. O. Borg (1989), “Gaming Tax Incidence for Three Groups of Las Vegas Gamblers”, Applied Economics, 21(9), pp. 1267–1277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Mobilia, P. (1992), “A Little Bit more Evidence of Lottery Regressivity: The Kansas State Lottery”, Journal of Gambling Studies, 8(4), pp. 361–369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Mottu, E. (1997), «Progressivité de l’impôt fédéral direct et de la TVA en Suisse», Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), 133(IV), pp. 709–740.Google Scholar
  12. Musgrave, R.A., and P. B. Musgrave (1989), Public Finance in Theory and Practice, New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  13. Petry, N. (2005), Pathological Gambling: Etiology, Comorbidity, and Treatment, Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Pirog-Good, M., and J. L. Mikesell (1995), “Longitudinal Evidence of the Changing Socio Economic Profile of a State Lottery Market”, Policy Studies Journal, 23(3), pp. 451–465.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Price, D. I., and E. S. Novak (1999), “The Tax Incidence of Three Texas Lottery Games: Regressivity, Race, and Education”, National Tax Journal, 52(4), pp. 741–752.Google Scholar
  16. Productivity Commission (1999), Australia’s Gambling Industries (Vol. Report No. 10), Canberra: Productivity Commission.Google Scholar
  17. Rivenbark, W.C. (1998), “The Tax Incidence of Casino Gaming in Mississippi”, Public Finance Review, 26(6), pp. 583–598.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Rönnberg, S., R.A. Volberg, M.W. Abbott, W. L. Moore, A. Andrén, I. Munck and O. Svensson (1999), Gambling and Problem Gambling in Sweden, Report No. 2: International Gambling Research Team of Sweden.Google Scholar
  19. Suits, D. B. (1977a), “Gambling Taxes: Regressivity and Revenue Potential”, National Tax Journal, 30, pp. 19–35.Google Scholar
  20. Suits, D. B. (1977b) “Measurement of Tax Progressivity”, The American Economic Review, 67(4), pp. 747–752.Google Scholar
  21. Volberg, R. A. (1994), “The Prevalence and Demographics of Pathological Gamblers: Implications for Public Health”, American Journal of Public Health, 84(2), pp. 237–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Volberg, R.A., and M W. Abbott (1997), “Gambling and Problem Gambling among Indigenous Peoples”, Substance Use & Misuse, 32(11), pp. 1525–1538.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Volberg, R. A., and H.J. Steadman (1989), “Prevalence Estimates of Pathological Gambling in New Jersey and Maryland”, The American Journal of Psychiatry, 166, pp. 1618–1619.Google Scholar
  24. Welte, J.W., G. M. Barnes, W.F. Wieczorek, M.C. Tidwell, and J. Parker (2002), “Gambling Participation in the US - Results from a National Survey”, Journal of Gambling Studies, 18(4), pp. 313–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Wisman, J. D. (2006), “State Lotteries: Using State Power to Fleece the Poor”, Journal of Economic Issues, 40(4), pp. 955–966.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Worthington, A.C. (2001), “Implicit Finance in Gambling Expenditures: Australian Evidence on Socioeconomic and Demographic Tax Incidence”, Public Finance Review, 29(4), pp. 326–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Swiss Health Observatory, ObsanNeuchâtelSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations