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Betting in Austria

Published on: 30/11/2015

According to official GDP per population figures, Austria is one of the ten richest nations in the world. In 1955, the country became a member of the United Nations and since 1995 it has been a member of the European Union (EU). In 1999, as a result of its EU membership, the country adopted the Euro as its official currency in place of the Austrian Shilling.

Legalised gambling in Austria became a reality in 1986 when an alteration to the Gambling Act made lottery-style games available to the public. As a result, the state-approved Austrian Lotto Toto Company (Osterreichischen Lotto Toto Gesellschaft GmbH) was born.

Lotteries games such as Brieflos, Zahlenlotto 1-90, Lotto 6/45 and Osterreichischen Klassenlottery soon became popular in Austria, and revenue generated from a pools game called Sporttoto were used to sustain the Austrian sports industry. The controlling organisation later changed its name to Osterreichische Lotterien GmbH.

Scratch card games became available in 1995 and were followed in 1999 by licensed Bingo halls. Soon after, casinos were permitted, on the premise that they were authorised by local officials. The country of Austria is split into nine states (Bundeslander) with government-supervised gaming establishments present in every one. Casinos with slots and table games are available at approximately 30 purpose-built facilities throughout Austria

Casino opening hours may vary but many are open 24 hours day, seven days a week. The Poker Royale chain runs several gambling facilities in Wiener Neustadt, Kufstein, Kitzuhel and Eisenstadt. Horse racing and gambling venues, operated by the Manga Racino brand, are also available in Ebreichsdorf, The gaming monopoly (Glucksspielmonopol) supervises the Toto; however, all of the other sports gambling facilities in Austria lay outside of their control. Each local state provides the required licences directly to the betting companies, a move which has enabled the numbers of venues to increase throughout the country.

Admiral Sportwetten are the dominant sports betting traders in Austria with approximately 50 betting establishments throughout the country. Betting businesses with physical venues can also apply to run online betting services as long as they have arranged to have the correct licences in place. Licensed bookies from abroad do not have permission to promote their websites in Austria. This measure is designed to safe-guard Austrian organisations and restrict competition. Only regionally-approved businesses are permitted exclusively to provide gaming via mobile phones and over the internet.

The European Union are looking into possible legal proceedings regarding the strict regulations in Austria. However, a small number of business have already been able to overcome the constraints. Many well-known betting names including the UK-based PartyGaming have merged with Austrian-based firms in order to gain licenses to operate in the country.

Bookies outside of Austria also accept bets from citizens with approximately 500 companies contesting for their business. Many of these web sites target Austrian customers by providing specialist assistance in German. There are currently no regulations are in force to stop Austrian punters from betting with these bookies.