Gambling, casinos, and lotteries are regulated by the Law on Games of Chance (GSpG) and fall within the remit of the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry of Finance is also the responsible authority for the supervision of licensed companies.
Remote gambling offered internationally is also subject to the national gambling monopoly and may not be advertised or executed within Austria. Interventions into the monopoly are punishable by civil law or administrative penalty regulations of the gambling law. The “Österreichische Lotterien GmbH” is licensed for offering Lotto, Toto, Goal Betting, Letter Lottery, and Scratch Cards as well as Electronic Lotteries via the Internet and via video lottery terminals.
Based on the Austrian Gaming Act (Glücksspielgesetz), Austria-based companies are eligible for online gaming licenses to offer lottery services and casino games via the Internet, mobile phones, and interactive television but only Austrian residents are allowed to play. Foreign operators are required to have a corporation with a supervisory board, with a registered office on domestic territory or such a corporation founded within three months from obtaining a concession. The arrangement, organization, or provision of illegal online casino games is an offense as well as the promoting, arranging, or enabling the participation in online casino games. Offenses are also in place for the transfer of funds by banks paid by players to an organizer or provider of “illegal” online casino games. Austrian licensed online casino operators are taxed at 16 percent of gross gaming revenues; illegal operators (unlicensed) are subject to a 16 percent tax rate of stakes. Sports betting is subject to a 2 percent duty on stakes for all operators. Sports betting does not fall under the gambling monopoly.
Casinos Austria and Austrian Lotteries (Österreichische Lotterien GmbH) have been issued online gaming licenses to conduct online lotteries and casino games, thereby creating a monopoly. Austrian citizens may gamble online with foreign operators. Austria views remote bookmaking services as an extension of state-licensed, land-based operations.
In September 2011, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) made its ruling on the case of Bet-at-Home, which was indicted by the Austrian government for not respecting the online gambling laws of the country by operating in the country with a Malta online gaming license rather than an Austria license. The ECJ ruled Austria’s stance was correct. Although the European Union recommends that its member states mutually accept each other’s gambling licenses, it still gives member states the option of accepting them or not. The ECJ is considering it legal if a member state does not accept a gambling license issued by another member state.
Advertising for online gambling is permitted for licensed Austrian businesses but not foreign operators.
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