Austrian police bust illegal casino

Police brought in a locksmith to enter the venue.
Police brought in a locksmith to enter the venue.

Financial police confiscated 17 gaming machines from a venue in Vienna.

Austria.- Financial police have confiscated 13 gaming machines in a raid on an illegal casino at a restaurant in Meidling, in the 12th district of the city’s capital, Vienna.

Financial police attended the restaurant after receiving a complaint and brought in a locksmith to open the door after they were denied entry.

Police reported a smell of tobacco, suggesting the venue was also contravening fire regulations, while the layout of gaming machines also breached Covid-19 orders.

Gaming machines were protected by a circuit breaker but police were able to demonstrate that they were operational, reports say. They have been confiscated and held at a storage facility while investigations continue.

Finance Minister Gernot Blümel said: “Crime is not in lockdown, so rigorous financial police action continues to be carried out to reduce illegal gambling. I congratulate my colleagues in the financial police on this success.

“Illegal gambling is being carried out by organised crime and we are increasingly finding connections to traditional criminal business areas such as drug trafficking, smuggling and illegal prostitution.

“We are therefore working closely with the Federal Criminal Police Office to arrest the people behind it.”

Earlier this year, Blümel proposed the creation of a dedicated independent Austrian gambling regulator to take over responsibilities currently held by the country’s treasury.

Authorities have warned of an increase in illegal gambling in Vienna. In the first ten months of this year, 575 gaming machines have been confiscated in the city.

The Austrian Association for Betting and Gambling (OVWG) has called for the creation of a new online gambling licensing system to help fund Austrian sport in the wake of Covid-19.

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