Austria is an affluent country known for its liberal approach toward gambling. The first piece of legislation related to gambling was introduced in 1696 by Leopold I. Its aim was to combat illegal gambling activities throughout the country. Although gambling was originally perceived as a pastime for common people, it quickly became a popular form of entertainment for nobility, too.
In Austria, sports betting is defined as a game of skill. The main piece of legislation that regulates casino gambling is the Glücksspielgesetz (GSpG). However, sports betting is regulated on a state level. Austria consists of 9 federal states, and each has the right to set its own rules when it comes to sports betting. There are some online sportsbooks that have acquired licenses from Austrian provinces. However, sports fans from this country can also use the services of offshore betting sites without being prosecuted.
Best Sports Betting Sites in Austria
Austria is a gambling-friendly country. It allows most forms of gambling, including sports betting. There are many betting shops in the country where punters can wager on the sporting event that excites them the most. Online sports betting is also legal in Austria. There are some licensed betting sites that offer competitive odds and generous promotions. Below you will find a list of some of the best betting sites geared toward the Austrian market.
Best Sports Betting Bonuses in Austria
Sportsbooks accepting punters from Austria offer various promotions for newcomers and existing bettors. If you are about to claim a sports betting bonus, familiarize yourself with the bonus terms and conditions.
Match Deposit Bonuses
Many Austria-friendly betting sites treat their new registrants to Welcome Bonuses. Punters have to make a qualifying deposit to claim the promotion. Welcome Bonuses usually come in the form of a match deposit bonus. Match deposit bonuses typically have a maximum limit. In other words, the sportsbook will match your deposit by a specific percentage up to a given amount. Match deposit bonuses have playthrough requirements and minimum odds restrictions. Bettors must comply with the bonus terms and conditions to cash out their profits.
Sports fans from Austria can benefit from free bets and place a wager on a sporting event without risking their funds. Although punters cannot withdraw the money from the free bet, they will make a profit if their bet settles as a win. Most online sportsbooks require their registrants to fund their accounts before being able to claim a free bet bonus.
Some sportsbooks provide Austrian punters with the opportunity to receive a refund if their wager loses. The refund is usually credited in the form of free bets. Punters can use the free bet to wager on a sporting event, and if their bet wins, they will collect a profit. However, if you lose the free bet, you will not win a profit, but your bankroll will remain intact.
An accumulator bet is a combination of multiple bets into a single wager. An accumulator bet wins only if all selections are successful. Assuming that one selection of your accumulator bet loses, your whole bet will lose. However, some betting sites offer a refund in the form of a free bet if one leg loses. That promotion is called Acca insurance. Note that your accumulator bet must consist of a minimum number of selections as specified by the operator to qualify for this promotion.
Betting Regulation in Austria
Austria is among the first countries to pass gambling regulations, attempting to clamp down on illegal gambling activities. In 1751, the Genova Lottery was established by a private company. However, the country acquired the company that owned the Genova Lottery and decided to use the funds raised from the lottery to support various good causes.
In 1934, the first modern land-based casino opened its doors in Austria. Only four years later, the country prohibited all gambling establishments. However, brick-and-mortar casinos that were already in operation were allowed to continue offering their services. Luckily, the ban was lifted by 1950.
Casino Gambling Subject to Monopoly
In 1967, Casinos Austria was established, and by 1990, it owned 12 out of all 15 issued licenses. The only other operator licensed to offer its services to Austrians is the Austrian Lottery. But Casinos Austria also holds a stake in it. That being said, casino gambling and lotteries are subject to a monopoly. Casinos Austria is the only operator licensed to run an online casino.
The gambling regulations in Austria are so strict that no foreign operator has managed to meet them all thus far. Operators who want to obtain an Austrian license must move their main offices to Austria. Besides, the country is known for having steep gambling taxes. Bookmakers have to pay a 2% tax on all stakes. A 40% tax applies to gross gambling revenue generated from online gambling and electronic lotteries.
In 1989, the main piece of legislation which regulates the gambling industry in Austria, Glücksspielgesetz (GSpG), was passed. Interestingly, it differentiates between two types of gambling, including regular gambling and small gambling (kleines Glücksspiel). The law grants rights to the individual provinces to set their own rules regarding small gambling and sports betting.
Small Gambling and Sports Betting
Small gambling is offered by special gambling salons licensed by the specific province they are based in. However, there are some restrictions that apply to small stake gambling. Gambling salons are allowed to have up to 50 gaming machines. Besides, they are not allowed to accept wagers of more than €10 (or €1 in some provinces). Gaming machines automatically shut off after 2 hours of activity to provide players with a cooling-off period. Small gambling is prohibited in Vorarlberg, Salzburg, Tyrol, and Vienna.
The law classifies sports betting as a game of skill, and thus, it is legal in all provinces. However, the different provinces apply various restrictions. Sports betting is allowed between 6 am and midnight in Tyrol, Vorarlberg, and Vienna.
Salzburg and Upper Austria allow sports fans to wager no more than €500. Most states prohibit bets on criminal activity, deaths, and injuries during a sporting event. In Styria and Vienna, bookies are allowed to accept in-play bets on half-time scores, end-game scores, and who will make the next goal only. Betting on animal events is prohibited in Salzburg and Vienna.
Austria Proposes Gambling Reforms
Austria’s gambling laws aim at protecting casino fans and punters from gambling problems. That is why all online sportsbooks are required to promote responsible gambling. Like in most European countries, the minimum age for gambling and sports betting in Austria is 18. However, you must be at least 16 years old to buy a lottery ticket. Many countries impose taxes on punters’ winnings, but fortunately, Austria is not one of them.
Online sportsbooks must obtain a local license to operate in Austria. However, there are many offshore betting sites that accept punters from Austria. In 2017, Austria unveiled its plans to enable Internet service providers to block unlicensed sports betting and gambling sites. In 2021, Austria’s finance minister Gernot Blümel announced that there will be a huge reform in the sector, and a new regulatory body will be established. The regulator will have the task to establish a national self-exclusion system and create a blacklist of unlicensed domains.
What payment methods are available to punters from Austria?
Bettors from Austria can choose from a decent range of reliable payment methods to add funds to their sports betting accounts. Some of the most preferred payment options include Visa, Mastercard, ecoPayz, Skrill, Neteller, EPS, and Klarna. Austrian punters can fund their accounts instantly. As far as withdrawals are concerned, sports fans will have to wait 3 to 5 banking days to receive their profits, depending on the selected payment method.
Is it safe to use the services of an online sportsbook?
Punters from Austria can choose from locally licensed sportsbooks. However, there is a plethora of reputable offshore betting sites that accept sports fans from Austria. If you decide to use the services of a foreign betting site, you must ensure that it is licensed by a reputable regulator. Trustworthy sportsbooks usually offer professional customer support services and employ reliable payment methods.
Which are the most popular betting markets among Austrian punters?
The most popular sports in Austria are football, alpine skiing, and ice hockey. Many Austrian punters wager on the Austrian Football Bundesliga. Football fans from Austria also like to bet on international leagues such as Premier League, Serie A, Eredivisie, Bundesliga, and others. Alpine Skiing World Cup also attracts a great deal of betting action. Austrian punters passionate about ice hockey often wager on ICE Hockey League, NHL, KHL, and others.
Who is responsible for issuing licenses to online sportsbooks in Austria?
The Ministry of Finance is the authority that issues licenses to casino operators. At the moment of writing, Casinos Austria is the only licensed casino operator. When it comes to sports betting, the situation is a bit different because each of the nine provinces has the right to establish its own rules on the matter. Although sports betting is legal in all provinces, there are specific restrictions that vary between the different provinces. Online sportsbooks must obtain a license from a provincial gambling authority to legally accept punters from the specific province.
How do sports betting bonuses work?
Many online sportsbooks geared toward the Austrian market offer various promotions to attract newcomers and retain existing punters. However, sports betting bonuses come with terms and conditions that vary between sportsbooks. Most sports betting promotions are associated with playthrough requirements. Sportsbooks also often impose odds restrictions to prevent punters from betting on strong favorites with bonus funds. Besides, sports fans must clear the bonus turnover within a specific time frame.