Austrian finance minister Gernot Blümel is looking to introduce some changes to the national gambling system. He has just proposed the establishment of an independent body that would be responsible for the regulation of the gambling industry.

According to Blümel’s words, he wants to terminate several functions within the Treasury and the new Regulator is a perfect way for that. On this situation, he said:

“Therefore, the areas of licensing and supervision should be outsourced to an independent gaming authority.”

Blümel has just talked about hot topics in the gambling industry including current state at Casinos Austria, the gambling monopoly in the nation and recent scandals.

One of the latest cases happened when Peter Sidlo, a Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) councilor, has been appointed at the role of CFO at Casinos Austria. All suggestions went in the direction that Sidlo had been appointed following the backing of the Novomatic gaming firm.

The official info indicates that Novomatic holds around 17.19% shares in Casinos Austria and it has been seeking to secure a casino license in the capital Vienna. Following the provider’s intentions, Casinos Austria would be at risk to lose monopoly. Nevertheless, all connected parties have dropped the claims.

Next Events

As soon as the scandal was discovered, Novomatic accepted to sell its stake to Czech gaming firm Sazka Group, which already has around 38% shares in Casinos Austria. Judging but the comments of both providers, sharing joint control never yielded the anticipated results.

Following the Sazka and Novomatic deal, the Czech provider would have a majority stake in Casinos Austria and the higher percentage of shares than public investment body Österreichische Beteiligungs (ÖBAG), which today has about 33% of shares.

Sazka has already assured that ÖBAG will have representatives in Casinos Austria’s supervisory and executive boards, but there are ongoing concerns that scenario could cause additional job losses plus a decline in tax revenues.

In the meantime, the Austrian finance minister has talked for political show and said that he was determined to negotiate an “Austria package” through ÖBAG, and promise that Sazka maintains its presence and the current number of employees across the country.

Gernot Blümel concluded by saying:

“Casinos Austria is a traditional company in Austria that provides over 3,000 jobs. It is important to me that things settle down and that jobs, its location and tax revenue remain secure.”

“ÖBAG will, therefore, examine how best to ensure such an Austria package.”


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