Crackdown on Illegal Gambling Venues in Austria Continues

Austrian police continue with its coordinated crackdown on illegal gambling venues, this time seizing 55 illegal gaming machines over the span of the 3-day police operation.

Coordinated Effort

The coordinated operation against illegal gambling establishments across locations in Upper Austria, carried out in collaboration with the State Police Directorate, uncovered that, at venues that have been previously inspected, there were new gambling machines installed. One of the illegal gambling dens featured a record 12 illegal devices.

In connection to the police operation, Austrian Finance Minister Gernot Blümel commented that the inspected over the course of the 3-day operation region of the country established itself as “one of the hotspots for illegal gambling,” outlining that “targeted actions by the financial police” resulted into more than 200 gaming machines being seized from August onwards alone.

Series of Gambling Raids

Last month, Austrian police incurred a significant blow to illegal gambling, having confiscated 121 gaming machines, among which were popular casino gaming machines like auto roulette, slots and gambling terminals. That followed a coordinated raid across 39 areas in the country, including the Steyr, Linz-Land, Wels, and Linz regions.

In June, another coordinated response to the rise in illegal gambling activities in Austria saw a total of 91 slot machines being confiscated from 17 illegal gambling dens, while prior to that, in February, financial and criminal police units joined forces and busted two illegal gambling establishments in the Vienna districts of Donaustadt and Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus.

From the venue located in Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus, police officers seized cash and seven gambling machines, but found drugs in one of the players and had to bring in drug-sniffing dogs, which uncovered more drugs and containers intended for selling drugs.

The illegal gambling den in Donaustadt featured three poker tables and more than 30 players carrying an excessive amount of cash with them inside a sealed-off ground floor bar. The venue lost two gambling machines, which were seized by the police officers.

Shutdowns Open Niche for Illegal Gambling

One of the reasons for the rise in illegal gambling activities in the country is that the retail gambling market is limited to only two providers of land-based casinos and gambling arcades, Casinos Austria and Novomatic, which potentially limits the legal availability and choice of games at players’ disposal.

Another reason could be the restrictions imposed on land-based gaming venues related to national and regional efforts to curb the further spread of the coronavirus infection, as a result of which legal gambling establishments had to shut down operations, clearing the way for illegal ones to satisfy the demand for gambling.

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