Under Minister Hartwig Löger, the turquoise-blue Ministry of Finance planned massive tax breaks for Casag. The design was not examined; the casinos deny lobbying.
The Political affair about a casino post-cheater is one facet richer. According to the “Kurier”, the turquoise-blue finance ministry under Hartwig Löger (ÖVP) has drawn up another draft for the Gambling Act (GSpG) in 2019, which would have brought massive tax relief to the state casinos in Austria. However, the rough draft dated April 29, 2019 was not sent for review.
In contrast to the GSpG draft 2018, which has been discussed in the parliamentary U-committee for weeks, the new version no longer concerned the liberalization of the gaming market and concessions, the report said. IP blocking against illegal online providers was also no longer included.
Instead, almost all products – such as lottery and scratch cards – should currently be because of corona virus and smoking ban swirling Casinos Austria group are tax-privileged. The casino tax in the twelve domestic casinos should have been reduced again – from 30 to 18 percent for live games and 25 percent for slot machines.
Novomatic negatively affected
Even under the red-black government, the casino tax had been reduced from 48 to 30 percent, which is unusual in the EU – as compensation for possible competition from three new casino concessions, which have not yet been awarded.
On the other hand, according to the rough draft, the tax on bets that are not considered to be gambling in Austria should be doubled from two to four percent, which would have hit casino rivals Novomatic hard.
“Abrupt change of government”
The Ministry of Finance pointed out on Monday that the considerations “due to the abrupt change of government” had not been followed up and that no draft assessment had been drawn up “because the government of experts did not initiate or want to introduce new legislative changes (government bills)”. The Ibiza video was published three weeks after the draft was drawn, and with it came the end of the turquoise-blue government.
“Any disadvantage of individual providers cannot be traced, since sports betting is also offered in the group of the federal concessionaire (Casinos Austria, note), which would be affected by any legislative adjustments in this area,” said the ministry spokesman. “However, no tax cuts were planned at either Casag or ÖLG (lotteries, note).”
As such, it is not uncommon for the Ministry of Finance to prepare or prepare legislative adjustments. In the Gambling Act, these could also become necessary due to market changes, for example in the event of extreme increases in betting events.
Turquoise-green plans “increase player protection”
According to the current government program, the ÖVP Greens government will present “timely” plans to increase player protection, the finance ministry now led by Gernot Blümel (ÖVP) also announced.
Both the judiciary and the parliamentary committee of inquiry are concerned with the many attempts to exert influence on domestic gambling legislation and possible deals between major players and parties.
Casinos: Tax changes “not advantageous”
The state-owned Casinos Austria emphasized on Monday that they were in no way involved in the drafting of the rough draft for the amendment of the GSpG 2019 and that they had not initiated any lobbying activities in this direction – especially since the planned tax changes would not have been advantageous for the casinos.
What the casinos are aware of from the Causa Casinos criminal act would have “significantly worsened our situation and increased taxes,” said casino spokesman Patrick Minar on Monday. All previously known drafts for the amendment of the GSpG would have been at the expense of the casinos. “We haven’t found anything that we would have benefited from.”