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Industry calls for end to Austrian online gambling monopoly

The Austrian Association for Betting and Gambling (OVWG) has renewed its call for the government to end the “unjustifiable” online gambling monopoly held by Austrian Lotteries.

The association argues that the single online gaming license awarded to Austrian Lotteries by the Ministry of Finance does not provide greater protection to consumers than a well-regulated market where all operators fall under state supervision.

The OVWG questions the validity of the online gaming monopoly under EU law, as well as the triple role of the Ministry of Finance as licensor, regulator and Austrian Lotteries shareholder.

“State-of-the-art gambling regulation in line with market conditions must serve to create a transparent and secure gaming environment: player protection for customers, legal security for companies and comprehensive control, and guaranteed tax revenues for the state,” the association said Tuesday.

“Exemplary countries such as Denmark show that these objectives can be achieved through the introduction of a licensing system in which licenses are not limited in quantity but are subject to compliance with high player protection standards.”

The association notes that all leading operators have secured a license in Denmark and stand ready to do the same in Austria, deploying technical solutions to ensure unrestricted state access to gaming systems and comprehensive cross-vendor exclusion tools for players.

“The argument that only the monopoly can offer protection and control can no longer be upheld: the online sector in particular offers a multitude of technical possibilities that ensure comprehensive state control,” said OVWG president Claus Retschitzegger.

“We have received scientific studies from the University of Munich and the University of Vienna, which clearly come to the conclusion that the current monopoly is in violation of EU law. If Austria really cares about player protection, it is high time to introduce a transparent, fair and EU-compliant licensing system and an independent regulatory authority,” Retschitzegger added.

“These licenses must be tendered in a public and transparent process and must not be tailored to a specific company.”

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