During the Q1, Austrian police conducted raids on illicit gambling establishments, while Austria’s financial police provided updates on their enforcement measures against illegal gambling.
Austria’s financial police force, known as the Bundesministerium Finanzen, revealed that it issued fines amounting to €492,000 for illegal gambling during the initial quarter of this year. The authority conducted inspections on 46 properties, resulting in 27 criminal complaints.
Out of the total complaints, 20 were registered in Vienna, the country’s capital, leading to fines totaling €300,000. Magnus Brunner, the finance minister of Austria, expressed concern over the negative impact of illegal gambling on the country’s economy and the creation of “unfair competitive conditions” for legally operating entities. Additionally, the police also presented statistics on tax evasion and anti-fraud operations conducted in the first three months of the year.
The potential fines for this quarter could see an increase following the recent events in April, where the Fraud Prevention Office seized 76 illicit gaming machines during a series of raids conducted in Salzburg.
The operations involved a team of 15 financial police officers and 30 Salzburg police officers, who visited seven bars disguised as various other businesses, including a nail salon, tanning salon, and an internet café.
The targeted premises were equipped with magnetic locks and video surveillance, requiring the use of “coercive force” in five cases, and a locksmith’s assistance in two cases. Remarkably, during a revisit to one of the bars just five days later, police discovered that it had been revamped with nine additional gambling machines, replacing the nine that had been confiscated during the initial raid.
Austria’s Finance Ministry stated that those responsible for operating these machines could face fines of up to €30,000 per machine, with the average fines typically amounting to approximately €5,000.