The experts clearly show that a liberalisation of the market in Austria is unavoidable. We fully share this position. We do not, however, share the approach that “IP-blocking is an effective enforcement measure”.

Claus Retschitzegger, President

Gambling and sports betting on the Internet – approaches for a new regulatory framework

Within the scope of an extensive study, the Austrian online market for gambling and sports betting was analysed by the experts Kreutzer Fischer & Partner and approaches for a new regulatory framework were developed.

Key messages of the study

  • Above-average growth of the online market for gambling & sports betting: The market for gambling and sports betting is growing strongly. In the last two years, the stakes in games and bets have increased by around ten percent annually compared to the previous year. The online market is particularly dynamic, generating gross gaming revenues of over EUR 250 million in 2016, an increase of around 25% over the previous year. In recent years, the online gambling and betting market has thus developed into the third largest market in Austria after lotteries and gambling machines (market share of 26.6%).

  • The current Austrian legal situation in the online sector leads to legal uncertainty, incomplete player protection and irregular tax revenues: The existing legal regulations for the online sector can at best be described as rudimentary, especially with regard to player protection; this does not ensure a uniform high level of player protection. Moreover, only two out of nine federal states (Vorarlberg and Salzburg) mention online betting, but do not de facto deal with it. In the case of online gambling, doubts as to the conformity of the national monopoly with EU law and the uncertainty as to which contracts in Austria are subject to taxes lead to enormous legal uncertainty. According to the “Branchenradar”, the share of online gambling services not licensed in Austria amounts to almost 65%. Consequently, the Austrian gambling monopoly fulfils its actual purpose of steering existing demand into orderly channels only to a very limited extent.

  • Recommendation – Liberalisation of the online market: A new regulation of the online sector for games of chance and sports betting is urgently needed due to the rapid development of the sector. Companies based in the EU/EEA and meeting the legal access criteria, player protection and crime prevention must also be granted access to the market. Consequently, the study recommends – as in the field of sports betting – not to impose any quantitative restrictions on the granting of licences in online gambling either. A look at Denmark or UK shows that with clear rules and strict access requirements, unlicensed offers can be greatly reduced and players can be successfully channelled in the national licensing system. Due to the direct link between taxation and the channelling rate, the tax rate must also be reduced to a uniform level.

Would you like to learn more about the study? Please contact us!

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