More and more people in Austria are entering casinos – whether online or offline. The enthusiasm of the population is growing, as is the quality and availability of games of chance. But what does the legal situation actually look like? Are online casinos legal in Austria? We want to get to the bottom of this question in this detailed article. We look at the Austrian law, analyze the behavior of the users and look at the currently applicable EU laws. We also have one or two tips for you on how to find a legal and reputable online provider.
As already mentioned, gambling is widespread in Austria. The sales figures grow from year to year. While it can be clearly seen that the population is in favor of online casinos and sports betting, the legal situation in this regard is much less transparent. Because even many Austrians themselves do not know exactly what the regulations actually look like in their country. It’s not that complicated at all. What needs to be understood is that the state differentiates between small games of chance and big games of chance. In addition, one must always keep in mind that the applicable EU laws should also be considered.
THE SMALL GAME
In Austria, a game of chance that is limited to small stakes is called a small game of chance. This means that machines or table games with stakes of a maximum of 50 cents are permitted and theoretically can be offered by any manufacturer. Even in pubs, offline and online casinos in Österreich, there are no limits to small games of chance, so to speak.
THE BIG GAME
It is different with the big game of chance. This designation includes all those games of chance that are played with higher stakes. This applies to both table games and machines. Only Casino Austria is allowed to offer the big game of chance in Austria. This is a state-owned company that has a gaming monopoly. In theory, it is forbidden for other companies to offer the big game of chance.
EU LAW CONFLICTS AUSTRIA’S GAMING MONOPOLY
The legal situation in Austria described above seems clear. But still it only applies in theory and not really in practice. Because Austria belongs to the European Union and therefore has to bow to EU laws. The following applies: EU law takes precedence over national law. The players in Austria can therefore refer to laws of the European Union, should these contradict the laws from Austria – and this is exactly the case in the area of games of chance.
A few years ago the EU passed the so-called service law. In this it is written that operators in Europe are allowed to offer their services within the EU borders. Specifically, this means that every betting provider and every online casino may make their portfolio available to customers from Austria on the Internet. At the same time, the players are allowed to take advantage of these offers – although Austrian law does not actually provide for this. Therefore, in practice it is common for Austrians to visit online casinos that are licensed and regulated in Malta or Gibraltar.