History of gambling in Austria
Even before the start of the 20th century, gambling was legal in Austria. Upper-class people used it as entertainment.
Casinos weren’t a big part of the national economy back then. As a result, the legal gambling age in Austria wasn’t determined.
In the 20th century, the first state-run casinos sprang up. This came after the First World War, which destroyed Austrian territory. Casinos were viewed as an additional means of restocking public coffers.
The first licence
The first casino gambling licence was granted in 1922. This gave the gambling hub permission to operate in Salzburg. But it didn’t open yet.
In 1933, gambling organisations could operate nationwide. Notably, all casinos in Austria were monopolised in 1933. They were under a company called Casinos Austria AG/Laxenburg.
The first casino corporation opened its doors in 1934 at an Austrian ski resort. It’s important to note that since then, the bulk of gambling establishments have operated under a similar premise. That is, casinos have been built inside sizable hotels in Austrian resorts.
Of note, Germany governed Austrian territories beginning in 1938. That is when gambling was outlawed.
Reviving the Austria casino business
Wien Vienna Austria was the only operational institution until 1944. It wasn’t until the Austrian state was freed from invaders that the casino opened for business.
Following the war, Austria was split. Russia ruled the east, while France, the United States, and England ruled the western portion. However, even in these trying circumstances for the nation, a school for traders started in Vienna in 1945.
There was an effort to revive some casinos’ business in 1945–1946. However, the casino establishments in Vienna, in the nation’s east, served as the Soviet HQ. The attempt to reopen the casino in the ski resort’s hotel “Penthouse” also failed.
In 1950, there was interest from foreign investors in gaming in Austria. Casinos in the state’s western region have opened in Bad Gastein, Veldene, and Salzburg.
Casino operations in Baden, close to Vienna, resumed in 1955. The construction of casinos in Austria sped up in the 1960s. Major tourist destinations around the nation hosted casinos.
Notably, there was an effort to maximise the revenue from gambling operations in Austria. This led to the decision to control all current gambling establishments in the country.
The monopoly-declared firm Casinos Austria (sterreichische Spielbanken AG) was founded in 1967. The new Casinos Austria is an Austrian-owned company, in contrast to the former one. Notably, the government owns 70% of the casino shares.
The genesis of online casinos
After Casinos Austria was launched, it opened up more gambling hubs across the country. This continued until 2003, when it launched the first online casino in Austria – Winday2.at.
Since then, more casinos have been launched in the country. However, they can only serve Austrians. But since there are no laws banning Austrians from accessing offshore casinos, foreign gambling websites accept AT players.