Player protection and transparency are set to become the central focus as Austria prepares to conduct a massive overhaul in the gambling sector. However, the biggest and most important change will be establishing a gambling watchdog. The way it’s set up right now, the Austrian finance ministry is the entity tasked with regulating the industry. An aspect seen to be contributing to a monopoly situation in the industry. Changing times under the EU have forced Austria into these changes through the ECJ directives. Some countries in Europe are yet to effect these changes. Sweden’s recent changes, on the other hand, appear to have offered some inspiration for Austria’s recent move to revitalize the industry.
According to Gernot Blümel, the Finance Minister, the government’s top priority is to increase protection for Austrian gamblers. For that to happen, the Minister understands the need to have new gambling regulations in place of the outdated ones. This is set to happen with the impending overhaul of the sector. The law that governs the industry is the Law in Games of Chance often known as the GSpG. To become an online gambling operator in the country, you need to meet certain requirements:
These restrictive laws have pumped the brakes on multiple international iGaming companies looking to offer services in Austria. On the other hand, companies already in Austria are cashing in on these laws.
The government’s attention has been drawn to the fast-growing gaming market within Austrian and the effects it poses to Austrian gamblers. According to the government, one of the best ways players can enjoy increased protection is by creating a gambling regulatory authority solely focused on monitoring and improving the industry.
After its establishment, the gambling regulator’s task will be to introduce a self-exclusion protocol. With this protocol, players will be able to limit their gambling activities by setting a cap on how much money they can spend on a gambling platform, thereby protecting themselves. You may know self-exclusion from online gambling platforms but Austria has other plans in mind. The regulator will introduce the self-exclusion policy to land-based gambling as well.
Unlicensed operators in Austria have been put on notice by the Government as it seeks to increase its enforcement. The overhaul proposes that online gaming operators found to have breached the new regulations will face internet access restrictions by internet service providers in the country. Furthermore, the regulator will introduce what will be known as a blacklist. The blacklist will contain operators deemed to have breached gambling laws.
It’s not just about gambling activities. Loot boxes are also part of Austria’s top priorities. Countries such as Denmark and the Netherlands consider loot boxes to be part of gambling but Austria is yet to find a home for these games. Having said that, young people could use it as a conduit to gamble and it wouldn’t come as a surprise if Austria classifies them under the gambling banner.