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11. 11. 09. - 11:00

Casinos Austria wants stronger gambling controls

By David Rogers

Casinos Austria chief Karl Stoss has called for stronger controls on gambling.

Stoss said yesterday (Mon) he wanted checks on uncontrolled growth of small gambling machines and highlighted that only 8,000 of the 18,000 to 20,000 such machines in Austria were actually legal since they were in the four provinces, Vienna, Lower Austria, Styria and Carinthia, where they were permitted.

He added that the machines in the other provinces were either labelled as games of skill, which were permitted, or were operated under concessions from the four provinces where they were legal. He estimated there were 4,000 machines in Upper Austria and 1,500 in Tyrol.

Stoss also called for a federal regulator of small gambling machines to enable the finance ministry to determine what their turnover was and how much tax the machine owners should pay.

Stoss also criticised lawmakers after the draft of a new gambling law that would have given the federal government authority over establishments with gambling machines "had gone nowhere."

He said this was because of opposition from provincial governments fearing loss of competence and revenue, and the Economy Chamber (WKO), which wanted the owners of such establishments to continue to enjoy the extra turnover the machines produced.

Peoples Party (VP) State Secretary for Finance Reinhold Lopatka said work on a new draft law on gambling was underway and would be finished as quickly as possible.

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