Austria’s Federal Criminal and Financial Police units have shut down two illegal gambling establishments after a joint operation. The operation took place in the Vienna districts of Donaustadt and Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus, where officers found drugs and confiscated gambling machines.
Gambling Venues Shut Down, Drugs Found
On February 24, Austria’s Financial Police and Federal Criminal Police units joined forces to conduct anti-gambling operations. Two gambling venues were hit by the police in the Vienna districts of Donaustadt and Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus.
When the police raided the venue in Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus, several gamblers tried to flee, but they were unsuccessful. During the bust, the police found and confiscated cash, seven gambling machines, as well as drugs belonging to one of the players. The police later used drug-sniffing dogs and found more drugs and containers intended for selling more drugs.
The gambling venue in the Donaustadt district was hidden in a restaurant on the sealed-off ground floor bar. The officers went to inspect the place and found 34 on three poker tables, with each player carrying more than €21,000 in cash. The police seized two gambling machines as well.
The police interviewed staff and players and found out that the people responsible for running the illegal ventures had been apprehended and were being investigated.
Illegal Gambling and Drug Use in Austria Is Record High
Despite Covid-19 impacting local law enforcement’s day-to-day activities, the police are intensifying the crackdown on illegal gambling. Illegal gambling and drug use run wild in Austria, and the police have reported that more than 1,463 gaming machines were confiscated in 2020 alone Reports say that yearly the number of machines seized annually increases by 7.3%.
Drug use is another big issue that plagues Austria and has serious socio-economic consequences in combination with gambling. Addicted gamblers often dabble in criminal activity to try and compensate for their losses.
“The combination of illegal gambling and drug use, which is increasingly occurring in Vienna, is particularly fatal. We will continue to take tough and consistent action against these criminals and continue our excellent cooperation with the police. The fight against illegal gambling will continue to be pushed.” Said Austria’s Finance Minister, Gernot Blümel
The government continues to crack down on those gangs, and player control for gambling is being ramped up. Austria has issued a new transparency requirement, and a new supervisory authority has formed. The government plans to create a blacklist for unlicensed domains hosting illegal gambling sites.