Betting is a popular and completely legal pastime in Austria. Both in land-based casinos and bookmakers, and those offering their services online. However, the intricacies in the legality of gambling make things slightly more complicated on closer inspection. Firstly, as with many regulatory bodies, the laws are different depending on the type of activity, whether it be slot games or lotteries, for instance. Secondly, licenses are only granted to certain parties and under strict conditions, which we will explore more later.
As of 2022, the gambling licenses offered by Austria’s Ministry of Finance are few and far between. In fact, only 12 licenses are currently in existence, all awarded to the Casinos Austria group. Three more were given out a few years back, only to be revoked soon after following a failure to abide by the rules. Such stringent requirements make it difficult for national online casinos to obtain and retain the license, and impossible for those outside the country.
Indeed, only casinos operating within Austria can apply for a license. At the moment, there is nothing stopping Austrian players from signing up with offshore operators. However, proposed amendments to the law include blacklisting international betting sites, meaning punters may be restricted from heading online to their favorite casinos worldwide. Similarly, players from outside the country are unable to create an account with an approved Austrian casino.
Aside from geographical restrictions, other rules apply to online betting sites seeking a license. They include:
- Tools to protect players – casinos are obliged to offer limits on gambling duration, deposit amounts, stake limits, etc., to help prevent problems and addiction.
- Tax laws – all revenue generated by the platform is subject to federal tax laws.
It’s also important to remember that Austrian citizens betting at offshore sites will receive no protection rights, as they would when playing at casinos licensed and regulated by the Ministry of Finance.
The Future of Online Casinos in Austria
The impending changes to the nation’s gambling laws and the creation of a new regulatory body will ensure the highest level of protection for players. Both in terms of keeping customers safe by promoting responsible gambling and safeguarding against unscrupulous operators. Punters will be able to enjoy spinning their favorite slots or live poker play with total peace of mind. However, the decision to block certain international casinos may cause problems for some who prefer to bet outside Austria’s borders.