Austria (Republic of Austria) – a country located in Central Europe with a population of 8.46 million people. The country is a member of the European Union, that’s why, as in other EU countries, gambling is legalized in Austria. Monopolized land-based casinos and online gambling websites operate on the territory of the country.
Active organisation of gambling in Austria began in the first half of the twentieth century. To date, the Austrian gambling market is a healthy and pragmatic model strictly regulated by legislation. According to statistics, for the first fiscal quarter of 2016, revenues of land-based casinos alone totaled EUR 155.8 million.
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Gambling in Austria, or rather in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, existed even before the beginning of the twentieth century as places of entertainment for the upper class. In those times, casinos were not a business or a significant source of the country’s income. Therefore, gambling age Austria for visiting such gambling venues wasn’t determined.
The first State gambling venues began to appear in the 20s of the twentieth century after the destruction of the Austrian lands during the First World War. Casinos were considered an additional source of replenishment of the state treasury.
Here is the list of especially important dates for history of gambling in Austria:
Since the establishment of monopolies, Casinos Austria remains the main supplier of gambling in land based casinos to this day. The company has successfully destroyed the tradition of the organisation of gambling only in resort areas. Having opened casinos in big Austrian cities, the corporation has moved to a new stage of development entering the international market. First – Europe, then – the world.
Today, Casinos Austria AG gave a rise to the new corporation – Casinos Austria Group. The new holding company is the owner of:
Organisation of gambling in Austria is regulated by the Gambling Act Austria (Glücksspielgesetz) operating since 1989. The law is designed to control the quality and safety of gambling entertainment services on the one hand and to increase tax revenues to the state treasury on the other. Government intervention into the organisation of gambling is justified by desire to provide protection for the players in order to prevent the development of gambling addiction.
In the list of control objectives, the authorities of the State identified:
Gambling services are regulated by both state and federal authorities. The nuances of the organisation of gambling in different federal states of the country may vary. Licenses for different types of gambling activities are given by government representatives and Casinos Austria Group corporation. Advertising of gambling venues and the organization of charitable gambling events are deals with separately. The main body dealing with issues of gambling services is Ministry of Finance of Austria. So, answering the question if is gambling legal in Austria – it definitely is.
Starting from the 1st December 2010, Staff Unit acts in Austria – a special personnel trained to control the game in land-based gambling venues. The unit was created at the Federal Ministry of Finance for preventing the emergence of gambling addiction among the citizens and guests of Austria.
Main unit objectives:
Another way to deal with problem gambling in Austria – a number of requirements and restrictions on the issue of visiting casinos by citizens and guests of the country. Gambling rules in Austria:
All gambling services provided in the territory of the Republic of Austria are legally divided into several categories. Each of them has its own rules. Among them, there are:
The Austrian Government divides all gambling entertainment into two types – “hard” and “soft” gambling. The division takes place on the basis of bet sizes and the the volume of theoretical gains. Thus, playing at low stakes is allowed throughout Austria, including online casinos. Playing at high stakes is allowed only in land-based casinos of monopoly company Casinos Austria.
Largest segment of the gambling market Austria is represented by real casinos, lottery and betting spots. All organisations operate under the Casinos Austria Group and are divided into several divisions:
Today, there are 12 legalised casinos in Austria headed by the national operator Casinos Austria, mostly owned by the state. Staff of all casinos in Austria includes 1689 people. The casino attendance increased in 2016 in comparison with previous years. Today, there are more than 2.7 million visits, while in 2013, this number was 2.3 million.
In addition to attendance, revenues of casinos are growing as well. Here is a comparative list:
As of 2015, gambling tax Austria paid by casinos totalled EUR 118,93 million, and the annual revenue brought EUR 20,35 mln.
Land-based casinos provide popular games that are allowed by the state. Among them:
All 12 Austrian casinos contain a total of 211 gaming tables and 2,000 slot machines. During 2015, casinos of Casinos Austria Group holding were the venue for 849 tournaments.
National lotteries and betting are very popular in Austria. Such gambling entertainment is absolutely legal. Their greatest appeal is that the games do not require large investments. Lottery tickets and minimal bets taken on sports are so low that they can be accessible to all segments of the population, including the unemployed. Availability creates demand, which is displayed in the statistics.
Online gambling in Austria is not prohibited. However, the delivery of virtual gambling entertainment is also nationalised. Companies that have received a license from the monopoly Casinos Austria Group are able to provide gaming platforms containing:
Austrian gambling websites work for both PCs and mobile devices. Find out available platforms for playing slots on our website. They also organise interactive programs on TV. The only restriction set for national operators is the size of bets. Online casinos are the representatives of “soft gambling”. Gambling venues for high stakes is available only in one of 12 casinos of Casinos Austria AG.
As for the foreign operators, there are some bureaucratic difficulties here. To get the right to provide gambling services in Austria, foreign operators need to open subsidiaries in the country, which must obtain a license. Otherwise, gaming platforms will be blocked due to violating the gambling law in Austria.
In addition to the active development of the gambling industry in the country, Austrian companies participate in the international market. Austrian developers deliver gaming products in land-based and online casinos worldwide. Among the world-famous gambling companies in Austria, there are manufacturers:
To date, Austrian gaming market is a stable and regulated segment in the field of entertainment acting in the national interest. The gambling law Austria regulating the work of gambling venues online and offline are to ensure consumers safe and responsible game, as well as to provide a stable financial inflow to the state budget. The monopolization of gambling allows controlling the market, thus preventing the spread of illegal casinos and gambling addiction among visitors of terrestrial and virtual gambling venues.
By studying the statistical and accounting data of Casinos Austria Group, the rising demand for gambling can be noted. Revenues of casinos and the attendance of gambling venues are increasing in both segments – offline and online. The active participation of national developers and companies in the foreign market also supplements the state budget at the expense of foreign players.
The issue with foreign suppliers remains unsolved. Strict control and complex bureaucratic procedures do not allow the holders of British and Maltese licenses to act as members of the Austrian gambling market. At the moment, conflicts with the EU are not observed. However, there is no guarantee that foreign companies will not address to the Antimonopoly Committee of the European Union as it happened in the case of Norway which banned online casinos in the state.
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