Austria to ban poker outside of casinos

Gaming corporation Casinos Austria has welcomed a government plan to ban poker games outside of casinos - but has lamented the fact that the ban won’t be introduced until 2020.

Austria to ban poker outside of casinos
Photo: Wikimedia/Todd Klassy

In a statement, Casinos Austria said it wanted the ban to be introduced in 2017.

The Austrian Finance Ministry’s latest tax reform will seriously limit options for gamblers.

Legislators intend to limit poker operating to licenced operators such as casinos, electronic lotteries like win2day and WINWIN machine operators.

So-called 'Wirtshauspoker', or pub poker, will still be allowed – so long as the games are only held every quarter and limited to a maximum 100 players, who play for no more than €10 per person. 

Casinos Austria welcomed the end of existing poker halls such as Concord Card Casinos (CCC).

The Austrian betting and gambling company – which is one of the largest casino operators in the world – said it would also like to see the state prosecute illegal operators with more force.

Austria has made efforts to curb excessive gambling, by restructuring the online gambling market. However, its restrictive gambling regulations have frustrated operators and has led to some gambling firms having to repay large sums to problem gamblers.

Last year the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled against Austrian gaming laws as being inconsistent with European law. It also stated that Austrian gaming law was applied inconsistently and that the country’s licensing requirements focused more on collecting taxes and reducing gambling than protecting players.

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Austrian poker player wins half a million dollars

An Austrian student competing in the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas just missed out on being part of the top ten final table, but consoled himself with 11th place, and earnings of US$565,193 (€415,800).

Austrian poker player wins half a million dollars
File Photo: APA (Pfarrhofer)

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, Maximilian Senft, a student at the University of Economics in Vienna, busted out with a King and Queen of diamonds against a pair of threes after 105 hands.

He will walk away with over half a million dollars, less taxes.  The ultimate winner will earn US$10 million.

The World Series is dominated by US players, but also has participants in the top ten from Sweden, Norway, Mexico, Brazil, Netherlands and Spain.

Senft, who also plays in the Lower Austrian football club SV Stetten as a semi-professional midfielder, began playing poker at the age of 16 with friends.

"I'm certainly not a complete Poker nerd and not a professional," he wrote in his online blog.

In the Austrian poker scene, the student is not well known.

His biggest previous success was a seventh place finish at the World Poker Tour in Vienna in 2012.