Austria to ban poker outside of casinos

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

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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