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.People’s Party (ÖVP) 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.