Following an extended European tender process, in 2012 and 2013 Casinos Austria retained its concessions to operate 12 casinos in the country.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Casinos Austria's supervisory board approved a restructuring plan intended to save €40m by 2022. The plan also seeks to help the operator address declining visitor numbers and other impacts of forced lockdown closures.
According to the 2010 Gambling Act, which regulates Austria’s casino market at a federal level, the Ministry of Finance can grant up to 15 land-based casino licences, as a result of amendments passed in 2010.
Three additional casino licences were granted in June 2014 to Novomatic and a joint venture of Gauselmann Group and Stadtcasino Baden AG. However, the tender process for the additional licences proved contentious and Casinos Austria challenged the allocation.
In June 2016, Austria’s Supreme Administrative Court upheld a Federal Administrative Court Decision setting aside two of the three casino licences awarded in 2014. The third licence at Palais Schwarzenberg was nullified in September 2016.
The higher court ruled that important aspects of the tender criteria, published by the Austrian Ministry of Finance, were not clear. The court's decision to cancel the licences is final and no further appeal is possible.
In 2020, Austria’s new minister of finance Gernot Blümel announced plans to establish an independent gambling regulator, moving it out of the remit of the country’s treasury.
A year later in February 2021, vice-chancellor Werner Kogler confirmed the government’s intention to set up a dedicated gambling regulator. The vice chancellor also said he aims to “disentangle” the relationship between gambling companies and politicians.
Additionally, Austria is looking into having its licensing and concession process controlled by a judicial committee.
Separately, the country is considering proposing an amendment to the country’s primary gambling law that seeks to stop casinos from being built within 300 metres of education facilities, barracks, hospitals or transportation hubs.
Under the provisions of Art. 25 (1) of the Federal Law on Games of Chance (“Gambling Act”) and the valid licences currently issued in Austria, only adults who have provided adequate proof of identity (official photo ID) who are not subject to any form of entry ban can be permitted to enter and gamble in a casino.National legislation requires customers to be 18 years of age.Casinos Austria records and stores the data on the ID provided for a period of at least five years. If there is any doubt regarding a guest’s identity or right to access the casino, they will be denied entry until the matter has been satisfactorily resolved.
By monitoring visit frequency and gambling intensity, Casinos Austria is able to identify any individuals who are potentially at risk.
Casinos Austria carries out credit checks on such individuals in line with the player protection provisions set out in Art. 25 (3) of the Gambling Act.
If necessary, specially trained members of Casinos Austria staff then meet with such individuals to discuss the situation and draw their attention to the risks of gambling and the potential threat to their subsistence level. They also provide information on appropriate counselling options and institutions.
Entry restrictions/operator bans
If an individual does not have sufficient financial means to continue gambling, the operator is required by law to either restrict the frequency of their visits or ban them temporarily or permanently from entering casino properties.
Guests also have the option to self-exclude, a process whereby they can request that their number of visits be restricted or have themselves totally banned from entering a casino.
Legal Gambling Age: 18 Years Old
Smoking Ban:Yes. However, smoking-permitted rooms are allowed until 01.05.2018.
Terrestrial:Multiple licences capped at 15; currently 12 active (Public-Private)
Online: Monopoly (Public-Private)
Terrestrial: The law explicitly mentions, among others, roulette, poker, blackjack two aces, and baccarat baccarat chemin de fer (and variations) as forms of games of chance, but it does not limit the games that can be offered to these ones. The Gambling Act, in particular, allows a casino licensee to operate gaming machines in its casinos.
Online:Online casino games, including online slots. Online casino games are operated under the Lottery Licence.
Size of Illegal Gambling Market:
A recent 2016 study from Kreutzer Fischer and Partner estimates around 3000 illegal slot machines in Austria.
In relation to illegal online gaming it is estimated that 50 percent of the online gambling turnover in Austria is attributable to online gaming offers operating without proper national licenses.
Market Protection Measures / Tools to Tackle Illegal Gambling:
The Gambling Act does not contain an express authorisation allowing national authorities to order banks to block payments in relation to illegal gambling.
However, Section 52 of the Gambling Act stipulates the responsibility of banks, which consciously process payments in connection with unlicensed gambling, if they occur in intentional and direct cooperation with the operator. Sanctions of up to €22,000 apply.
The Gambling Act does not contain an express authorisation allowing national authorities to order internet service providers to block illegal gambling websites.
However, the Gambling Act prohibits the “making accessible” of illegal gambling and sanctions of up to €60,000 apply to offenders.
Currency : Euro
(Source:The World Bank)
GNI (2014, Local Currency, Millions): 436.69
(Source: The World Bank)
Internet Penetration (Internet Users): 87.5%
(Source: The World Bank)
Mobile Penetration (Mobile Cellular Subscriptions per 100): 123.5
(Source: The World Bank)
Doing Business Ranking (June 2020): 78.7
(Source: World Bank Group)
Last Updated: September 2020