According to Finance Minister Gernot Blümel

Austria could have independent gambling regulator soon

“Casinos Austria [the country’s gambling monopoly] is a traditional company that provides over 3,000 jobs. It is important to me that jobs, its location and tax revenue remain secure," Gernot Blümel said.
2020-03-05
Reading time 1:17 min
The country’s new Finance Minister called for the launch of one as part of plans to “untangle” the Treasury’s multiple current functions.

New Finance Minister Gernot Blümel told Austrian television last weekend that the country could soon have an independent gambling regulator.

Currently, the majority of Austrian gambling regulation is overseen by the Ministry of Finance (BMF),  Affiliate Insider reports. This includes casinos and slots, both on and offline.

But when it comes to sports betting, things are a bit more complicated. Each jurisdiction has its own laws. In Vienna, for example, wagering on this is only permitted between 6 a.m. and midnight. Moreover, there are more minute restrictions when it comes to what can be bet on.

In Lower Austria, which surrounds Vienna, there no restrictions on sports betting. This is the same for Burgenland, which is in the east of the country.

Blümel’s desires to form an independent regulatory body were announced as he was talking about Casinos Austria. This is the country’s gambling monopoly, which in recent months has been hit by scandal recently.

It was claimed that the appointment of Chief Financial Officer, Peter Sildo, was related to the awarding of licenses in Vienna. Sildo is a Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) District Councillor in the Austrian capital. Moreover, he has shares in Novomatic – which holds a 17.19% stake in Casinos Austria and had hoped to secure a Viennese license.

Both he and Novomatic, however, have since argued that no wrong was done.

Following these allegations, the Austrian Association for Betting and Gambling (ÖVWG) expressed its wishes for the monopoly to end. It said that an urgent “rethink” of the existing monopoly framework was needed.

When talking about Casinos Austria, Blümel had the following to say.

“Casinos Austria is a traditional company that provides over 3,000 jobs. It is important to me that [things settle down] and that jobs, its location and tax revenue remain secure.

“ÖBAG [referring to Österreichische Beteiligungs, the Austrian state’s public investment body] will therefore examine how best to ensure such an ‘Austria package’.”

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