Gambling in Austria
Online gambling is also very popular in Austria. It facilitates access to entertainment games, around the clock. The development of smartphones and the improvement of cellular connections has clearly affected the industry, as the demand has increased considerably. You can access the wide selection of games from anywhere through mobile casinos today. All you have to do is open your mobile browser and you can access any casino site. Log in or create a new account and the world of gambling is right in front of you.
The topic of online gambling has preoccupied politicians for many years, but also players. Every country deals with it differently. While there are countries where the gambling market has been regulated for a long time, there is a lack of clarity in other countries. In Germany, for example, it was forbidden until the summer of 2021, even though players did not really have anything to fear.
A big problem here is that national laws and EU laws have to be reconciled. There can’t be a general ban because of the freedom to provide services within the EU. Companies with an EU licence must be granted access to customers in the entire economic area. This also leads to the fact that many players in Austria are confused. Many do not know exactly whether they are allowed to play or not.
In order to provide some clarity, we have put together this guide. We want to give you some background information so that you understand the legal situation. Then you can decide for yourself whether the legal grey area prevents you from gambling. Or whether you can play in an online casino without worrying about the consequences for you.
Development of gambling in Austria
Gambling in Austria can be traced back many centuries and was popular very early on. At that time, there were primarily dice games and then at some point also card games. It was played especially at marketplaces. At that time, the places were full because everyone wanted to take part in gambling or at least watch. All social classes played those games. Peasants and craftsmen played at the markets and the nobility many years later behind the palace walls.
In 1696, Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor, enacted Austria’s first gambling law. Betting for money became so popular that he feared it might get out of control. All illegal gambling was prohibited from then on. A licence was required for gambling and the revenues had to be shared with the state. Today, land-based gambling is still controlled by the government. Online casinos, on the other hand, have also entered the market from abroad.
Laws on gambling in Austria
In order to combat gambling addiction and to be able to control the market, Austria has enacted strict laws on gambling. Only a limited number of licences are issued for gambling and the Austrian market is controlled by the state. Strictly speaking, however, this only applies to land-based casinos, because the situation is quite different if it comes to the internet. But we will come back to that in a moment.
The Federal Constitutional Law even provides for a monopoly on gambling. All games of chance within Austria are subject to the Austrian Gaming Act. Player protection is the top priority in the law. The state tries to prevent any kind of gambling addiction. Furthermore, it earns good money with the licences and the budget can look forward to good revenues every year. The market seems to be completely regulated, but the exception is online gambling. There is no clear regulation here, although online gambling has a long history in Austria.
Online gambling in Austria
Online gambling is not a new phenomenon in Austria. On the contrary, some of the biggest gambling companies in Europe originally come from Austria. Especially as far as software developers are concerned, but today they have moved their headquarters elsewhere.
Since 2000, the government has declared that they want to regulate and control the market also on the internet. Since then, there is only one provider that has received an official Austrian licence for gambling. This site happens to be a subsidiary of the state lottery in Austria. This once again gives the impression that the state is only concerned with its own revenues. Other providers have not yet been able to obtain a licence to accept local players and offer gambling.
What is interesting is that there is no open regulated market for other providers. At the same time, the law does not prohibit Austrian players from gambling on foreign sites. In Switzerland, on the other hand, this is handled much more strictly and sites without a licence are even blocked. So you don’t have to worry that you will be prosecuted as a player. You can play at an online casino without hesitation.
One exception is sports betting. This is because sports betting licences are also issued to other companies. Those who fulfil the specified regulations can officially offer their bets. The sports betting law therefore stands out somewhat among the games of chance. The other games of chance of online casinos are tolerated in this respect.
Taxes on casino winnings in Austria
When you play in an online casino, you can enjoy your winnings without restriction. Winnings do not have to be reported or taxed. You can use them completely for yourself. However, there is one small exception and this concerns poker players in particular. If you do this professionally and earn your money as a poker player, you are no longer considered a gambling customer. In this case, it is your income and must be taxed as such. If you only play for fun you don’t have to worry about anything, the winnings are always tax-free.
The situation is obviously different with the online casinos themselves. For some years now, the government has been confusing people with reports that it has large tax revenues from foreign gambling providers. This is because there is no licensing, so there is also no official permission for the companies to make revenue in Austria. The government wants to collect 40% of the gambling revenues as tax. As a result, some providers have withdrawn from the market and have stopped accepting new players from Austria.
In general, every company within the EU has the freedom to provide services and the freedom of establishment. This means that everyone is free to choose where they are based and can still offer their services across borders. Most online platforms with a licence in Malta or Gibraltar make use of this. Therefore, you can play at foreign providers with a licence from the MGA, for example, without any problems. Whether the requirement for tax participation is compatible with EU law remains to be seen. However, it has no legal consequences for you as a player.
Legal online gambling in Austria
The Austrian gambling law provides for a regulated market. The government refuses to grant a licence to foreign providers. This has no consequences for the players, because there are no legal consequences in this case. So it is not forbidden to play at online casinos that are based abroad. What sounds quite clear at first is somewhat confusing in the end. Nevertheless, as a player you can have fun without any worries. After all, the slot machines and table games are meant for your entertainment.
You can legally deposit and play in an online casino, but you should always make sure that you play with a reputable provider. Not all online casinos are available in Austria, as some providers find the situation too unsafe. Here at gamblepilot.com you will always find the best offers and, above all, only reputable platforms. They have all been tested by us and only the best have made it into the selection. You will also find all the bonus offers that you can benefit from when you play.