Online casinos are generally not allowed to offer their gambling services in Austria (with the exception of win2day). Therefore, the gambling contract concluded between the online casino and the player (which is usually already concluded with the registration at the online casino) is usually null and void. Gambling stakes that have been gambled away can therefore be reclaimed (minus winnings paid out), probably for the last 30 years. 

The Austrian Supreme Court recently confirmed this (3Ob72/21s).

This applies to classic online gambling (e.g. roulette and poker), but not to sports betting.

Legal basis

Gambling in Austria is regulated by the Austrian Gaming Act (GSpG). According to § 3 GSpG, the Republic of Austria holds the gambling monopoly. 

This means that gambling services (including roulette, poker, blackjack, two aces, bingo and others) may not be played unless the Republic of Austria has granted a corresponding licence.

In Austria, however, only Österreichische Lotterien GmbH, which operates the website, holds a corresponding licence for online gambling.

This means that, according to the current legal situation, other companies or persons are generally not allowed to offer online gambling in Austria.

Providers of online gambling – with their headquarters in Malta, Cyprus, etc. – argue, however, that the Austrian gambling monopoly violates EU Community law, specifically the European freedom to provide services.

The providers of online gambling, however, fail to realise that corresponding regulations (precisely the gambling monopoly) are very much permissible if they serve the protection of players or the fight against crime. The ECJ has already confirmed this (see Case C-42/07).

Prohibited gambling (which also includes online gambling without a licence) is invalid according to § 879 of the Austrian General Civil Code (ABGB). The loser can reclaim the paid gaming debt according to § 1267 ABGB. The reclaim on the basis of enrichment law is in principle possible for 30 years.

As a rule, Austrian law applies according to Art 5 (3) of the Rome Convention if an Austrian consumer concludes the gambling contract online. The jurisdiction of Austrian courts is also usually given because § 14 Austrian Consumer Protection Act (KSchG) prescribes the consumer court of jurisdiction.

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This information is only a rough overview of the current legal situation. No responsibility is taken for its completeness and correctness. This information is in no way a substitute for individual legal advice.