Illegal gaming in Austria: the number of confiscated gaming devices is increasing
The financial police of Austria reported an increase in the number of confiscated gaming devices for 2020. Accordingly, 1,463 gaming devices were withdrawn from circulation in raids against illegal gambling, 100 more than in the previous year. The Federal Ministry of Finance stated this yesterday in its press release .
The past year was a particular challenge for the financial police due to the Covid 19 pandemic, but the annual balance was positive.
Finance Minister Gernot Blümel stated:
Thanks to the targeted controls by the financial police, great successes in the fight against social fraud, organized shadow economy, tax evasion and illegal gambling were achieved again last year. In this way we ensure fair competitive conditions, protect honest companies and strengthen the domestic business location. Especially in challenging times like these, fraud cannot be tolerated and I would like to congratulate the financial police on a record that is impressive.
Legal, economic and social consequences of illegal gambling
Overall, the financial police carried out gambling controls in 637 businesses in 2020. Illegal gambling would have had not only legal, but also economic consequences. The sum of the fines was more than EUR 32.2 million.
According to media reports, Upper Austria has developed into a hotspot for illegal gambling. In the past year alone, 375 illegal slot machines were withdrawn from circulation. There is still no breakdown by region for this year, but in 2020 the financial police succeeded in seizing illegally installed devices several times.
In October alone, she found 67 machines in Linz. One of the places in the focus of the authorities during the raids had already been checked twelve times. Despite the fact that the company had long since closed, the illegal gambling business continued. To make it particularly difficult for the officers, the illegal play equipment was anchored in the ground there. They were also equipped with an alarm system.
The private tragedies surrounding pathological gambling also made the raids “more than necessary”. The gambling controls have also shown that most companies are sticking to the rules.
By taking action against the “black sheep”, the financial police are helping legal companies in the crisis and saving jobs.