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An amendment to the Gambling Act is anticipated to be presented by the Ministry of Finance with respect to Online Gambling. The draft which is expected to be presented in the near future will further establish the existing gambling monopoly by halting the suppliers from entering the market.

Irrespective of the Casinos Austria Group holding a monopoly over online casino in the country, it is estimated that approximately 60 percent of the share of the market is held by unlicensed providers.

In association Andreas Kreutzer, from Kreutzer Fischer & Partner, which carried out a recent scrutiny on gambling and sports betting on the internet disclosed that: “There is only one license for the online area, but the demand is much larger. Almost 60 percent of online gambling takes place in the gray market in Austria.”

Owing to the belief that serious providers must not be excluded from the market in the future, the Austrian Association for Betting and Gambling (OVWG) has expressed its opposition to the measure.

The OVWG called forth that a new regulation with a licensing procedure is urgently needed in Austria, but that 50 million and more than 1,000 qualified jobs are at risk with the planned revision. Game and betting stakes have increased by around 10 percent in the last two years, while the online market increased 25 percent in 2016.

While the BMF argues in its draft that player protection is a top priority, the OVWG said that the argument to justify the market exclusion of unlicensed reputable providers does not apply because some already have valid EU licenses, therefore they meet high standards in terms of player protection.

Claus Retschitzegger, the President of the OVWG, said: “We also agree with the Federal Ministry of Finance on this topic. After all, nobody can have any interest in the fact that gambling takes place in digital back rooms.”

“If the law were to come into force in the recently submitted and then withdrawn version, this would have far-reaching consequences: it would force reputable suppliers out of the market. We are talking about 1,000 highly qualified jobs and 50 million euros of sponsorship and marketing expenses each year, which are endangered to the highest degree, Retschitzegger added.

Source: European Gaming Media and Events