The game of luck in its classic form is subject to strict control. In order to properly operate equipment and casino games, the arcade owners must meet a variety of requirements. Comprehensive checks check compliance with these. The online casinos are often excluded, as they are not controllable in this form. In Austria, about 2,500 raids were carried out in gambling halls by the responsible financial police in the period from 2014 to 2016. The focus was on gambling machines, which are available in large numbers in Austrian companies.
The 2475 inspections involved significant seizures. According to the Financial Police, 4628 state machines and other gaming devices were seized nationwide. Particularly hard it hit the addresses in Upper Austria. The proportion of raids carried out by the Financial Police on the basis of its own observations was low in that time frame and amounted to just one fifth. The remainder was prompted by reports that were available for individual premises, but also for different locations. In part, the reports came from authorities and other institutions, but often also from private individuals.
Regionally there were big differences
There were major differences across the country in the raids. Front runner was the capital Vienna. Here, the financial police increased a total of 709 times. Behind it comes second, with at least 541 raids in Upper Austria. Both in Lower Austria and in Tyrol, the number of inspections carried out was significantly lower. The laggard in the three years was the region of Carinthia. There were just 40 controls here.
For Austria, the raids and the associated fines have also become a considerable financial support. In the three years just mentioned, the total amount of fines imposed by employees of the Financial Police amounted to 81 million euros.
Although in Carinthia the number of raids was the lowest, quite a few devices were seized. A total of 67 machines and devices were affected by this decision.
Number of checks decreased over time
Although the number of raids and the sum of seized equipment for Austria are large, a rather positive development could be seen at the end. The number of inspections in 2016, for example, declined significantly compared to the previous year. In 2015 there were a total of 1076 inspections in Austria, compared to only 748 in 2016. At present it is still unclear how many controls were carried out in the first months of the current year and what development can be seen from this. Nevertheless, the financial police imposed considerable penalties. In 2016, the total volume of these penalties amounted to 26.10 million euros. But even here there was a significant decline compared to the previous year. In 2015, fines totaling 42.10 million euros were imposed.
The Austrian Financial Police has been dealing with the gambling sector since 2010 and has assumed responsibility for it. The ultimate goal is to stem illegal gambling in Austria. After years of being an integral part of the tax offices, she now works independently. During the raids, the financial police partly cooperate with the federal and criminal police.
In Austria, a strict control of gambling halls and casinos is sought. However, the authorities are also dependent on information in the German neighboring country.