Two men, a 27-year-old Austrian and a 47-year-old Dane, were arrested during a raid by the Austrian Financial Police (Finanzpolizei), after being accused of operating an illegal poker room in Vienna, tax evasion and social security fraud.
The raid in which the canine brigade intervened took place in a warehouse located in the third district of the capital. On the site they found the illegal poker room and a drug outlet. The criminals were accompanied by four players, in addition to a caretaker.
The Austrian promoted illegal poker games on his own Facebook page, where he advertised tournaments and cash games. While the Danish citizen had a criminal record for tax evasion.
The two men have previously operated another illegal arcade in district 15 which was discovered by authorities in the spring of 2020. Now he will face a fine for illegal gambling of about 30,000 euros, in addition he will have to pay past due taxes and make the reimbursement of fraudulent social security payments.
During the raid, police found an illegal sports betting machine at the scene with two poker tables and decks of cards apparently marked in invisible ink. Likewise, card shufflers, poker chips and mailboxes. The police estimate that this criminal activity earned criminals a monthly income in euros of more than five figures.
Police officers also found a drug bunker on the site, which was apparently used for the storage of various drugs, including cocaine, methamphetamine and hashish. In the possession of one of the organizers, the police found a portion of cannabis.
“Illegal gambling is part of international crime. Close cooperation with the Austrian Financial Police is the key factor for the success of these measures,” said Interior Minister Karl Nehammer.
For his part, Finance Minister Gernot Blümel commented:
“Illegal gambling ruins livelihoods and entire families. The combination with drug trafficking and drug use is currently increasing in Vienna and is particularly dangerous”.
And he added:
“Therefore, the financial police will continue to work closely with the police and will crack down on these criminals.”
This year alone for illegal gambling in Vienna, the authorities have issued fines totaling more than € 13 million. This suggests that criminal activity has increased in the country. During the first two months of the year, the Financial Police inspected 278 suspicious gambling sites across the country and confiscated around 660 gaming machines.
In operations in Upper Austria in july, 38 gaming machines and two poker tables were seized, bringing the total seizures this year to more than 260. The city of Linz, capital of Upper Austria, is considered by the Financial Police as a point key to combat illegal gambling.