Austrian police seize 76 illegal gaming machines

The illegal gaming venues were disguised as other businesses.
The illegal gaming venues were disguised as other businesses.

The slots were confiscated in a series of raids in Salzburg.

Austria.- The financial police’s Fraud Prevention Office has confiscated 76 illegal gaming machines in Salzburg. The machines were confiscated in a series of raids carried out with Salzburg police and a Cobra task force during the second week of April.

Some 15 officers from the financial police and 30 Salzburg police officers took part in the operation, which involved visits to seven bars that were disguised as other types of businesses, including a nail salon, tanning salon and an internet café.

The premises were guarded using magnetic locks and video surveillance. Police had to use “coercive force” to enter five, while a locksmith was needed to enter two. In one case, police returned to a bar they had already visited five days later and found that it had been fitted out with nine more gambling machines, replacing nine that had been confiscated on the first visit.

Austria’s Finance Ministry said those who were operating the machines could be fined as much as €30,000 per machine. Fines tend to average around €5,000.

Finance minister Magnus Brunner said: “This is a blow to organised crime. Illegal gambling operators make huge profits at the expense of gambling addicts. Resolute action by the financial police is of great importance here, and we will not show any tolerance towards criminals in the future.”

Austrian police regularly carry out operations against unlicensed gambling venues. In December, the financial police said they had seized and destroyed 123 illegal slot machines during raids in Upper Austria and Salzburg. On that occasion, 72 had been found in Salzburg.

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