Austrian financial police, in collaboration with the Fraud Prevention Office, have seized 76 unlawful gaming machines in Salzburg as part of a targeted crackdown on this illicit activity.
The operations were carried out in coordination with the Salzburg police and a Cobra task force, spanning from April 6th to April 14th. The ministry has lauded the police for their significant achievements in this effort. Operators of these illegal machines may face fines of up to €30,000 per unit, with average fines ranging around €5,000.
“The confiscation of these illegal gaming machines is a significant blow to organized crime,” stated Austrian finance minister Magnus Brunner. “These illicit gambling operators reap massive profits by exploiting vulnerable gambling addicts. The resolute actions taken by the financial police are of utmost importance, and we will continue to show zero tolerance towards criminals in the future as well.”
A total of seven bars were raided by the police
During the enforcement action, a team of 15 financial police officers collaborated with 20 local police officers over a span of four days. The officers conducted visits to seven bars, all of which were disguised as different types of businesses such as a nail salon, tanning salon, and internet café.
The operators of these illegal establishments had taken measures to secure the premises, including magnetic locks and video monitoring equipment inside and outside the bars. In some cases, the police had to use “coercive force” to gain access to five of the bars, while the services of a locksmith were required for two others.
The finance ministry highlighted one particularly audacious operator who had hidden additional machines after the initial confiscation. In another instance, a basement was found to house 15 illegal slot machines right next to an official building, with access through the official car park.
“The brazenness of these operators is unacceptable,” remarked the ministry. “They have no qualms about disguising their illegal activities and even locating their operations in close proximity to official buildings. The diligent actions of the financial police are crucial in combating such illicit behavior.”