Gambling Monopoly: Austria Violates EU Rules

The Austrian Association for Betting and Gambling has commissioned an expert opinion. This report is intended to determine whether the gambling rules applicable in Austria violate EU law. Said report was carried out by the universities of Osnabrück and Passau and shows clear deficits.

Eine junge Frau hält 5 ASS-Karten in der Hand.

The gambling regulations in Austria largely violate EU law. An expert opinion revealed the reasons for this.(©AdinaVoicu/Pixabay)

Expert report criticizes gambling monopoly in Austria

TheReviewers made very interesting discoveries. For example,In Austria online games of chance may only be offered by Casinos Austria. This fact comes very close to a monopoly and clearly violates the freedom to provide services in the EU.

The situation is similar with newly assigned licenses. In 2016, three new licenses were granted to local casinos. For thisan EU-wide tender should actually have taken place. Unfortunately, that was not the case and the licenses were again awarded to Casinos Austria. The European Court of Justice had already decided in 2010 that new licenses should be issued by means of an invitation to tender. Austria had not adhered to that either.

Poker also has a monopoly

The experts also focused on the fact that Casinos Austria holds the poker monopoly. Until 2019, theCCC chain was also allowed to offer poker. When their license expired, it was not renewed.

Behind the CCC chain is Peter Zanoni, who suffered a financial problem not only because of the cessation of licenses. Even before the poker license expired, Zanoni filed for bankruptcy. One reason for the bankruptcy was given, among other things, tax debts. Zanoni had tried for years to avert bankruptcy, but without success. The company had to pay taxes on all of its customers' bets, but not on its own profits. In the end, the CCC chain had tax debts of 600 million euros - a reason why Zanoni gave up. And that although not all courts had decided yet. 600 employees were affected by the closure of the casinos.

This story was also rated negatively by the reviewers becausePoker may now only be offered by Casinos Austria. The fact that all twelve locations are allowed to offer poker is partly due to the fact that poker is also considered a mixed game. Thus, Austria puts poker on the same level as sports betting. Nevertheless, the question arises why other companies are not allowed to offer this game if it is not a game of chance at all?

Player protection falls short

Apart from the monopoly position, the experts determined thatthe advertising strategies also violate the applicable laws . The advertising operated by Casinos Austria is not based on the prescribed advertising guidelines that are valid in Europe. The advertising would have to be designed in such a way that player protection is maintained. This is not the case with Casinos Austria's advertising.

Apart from this, there is no independent supervisory authority in Austriawhich is responsible for monitoring the casinos. This task currently lies with the Ministry of Finance. Since the state owns a stake in Casinos Austria, there may be doubts as to whether the monitoring or review is being carried out in a neutral and technically sound manner. After all, the state does not want to lose the revenue. All of this is also listed negatively by the reviewers.

Interestingly, the current Minister of Finance, Gernot Blüm, is of the same opinion and recommends handing over the monitoring of the casinos to an independent body.

The reviewers found it strange how gambling is viewed in Austria. So willSports betting not considered gambling, but slots and casino games are. Despite this view, Austria does not issue a separate license for sports betting. Only combined licenses are granted, again to Casinos Austria. In addition, only the online casino win2day is currently allowed to offer online games of chance. This provider is also one of the lotteries.

In the further course of the report, the authors point out that certain regulations only apply in restaurants.These rules could not be found in arcades. In addition, Casinos Austria AG is increasingly installing lottery machines. In some federal states in Austria these machines are forbidden. The company is apparently not interested in this fact and sets up the machines there.

Demand for a change in the law is loud

Such an opinion naturally leads to experts demanding a change in the law. In addition, the statement was included that basically at presentthe law valid in Austria is not valid at all and does not have to be observed. These are just personal opinions.

In view of the freedom to provide services in the EU, it is negative that no online casinos are allowed to offer their services. Once a gambling provider is based in a European country and has received a license from that country, EU law allows it to offer its games in any EU country. However, this is prevented by Austria. For this reason,It is now being demanded that the monopoly of Casinos Austria be given up and that other gambling providers also get a chance. Such a situation would not turn out to be disadvantageous as other online casinos would also have to pay taxes. In addition, new jobs could be created in Austria if all providers were monitored by a central office. Are you interested in gambling and live in Austria? Then get to know themost reputable online casinos in Austria.

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The article was published on October 30th, 2020 in the magazine by cpaws-ov.org under the keywords, ,,,,,, published.
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