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Austria Considering New Amendments, Foreign Operators in the Crosshairs

George Miller

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Austria Considering New Legislation, Foreign Operators in the Crosshairs
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Austria’s Ministry of Finance is currently in the process of reviewing the country’s Gambling Act aiming to introduce new amendments that could seriously affect the local online gambling market. Namely, the revised Act would seek to completely ban all foreign gambling operators and even request refunds for the losses players accrued playing with these operators over the past three decades.

The new Gambling Act proposes that the country’s ISPs should ban IP addresses of all gambling operators offering their services to players from Austria. Much like in Germany, all of these sites operate in a grey zone and aren’t sanctioned by the state. Therefore, all those who refuse to stop marketing their services in the country should be blocked.

However, not everyone agrees with this solution. The ban would effectively create a monopoly, because only one site, Casinos Austria, partially owned by the state, is actually licensed in Austria. By blocking other reputable operators who can’t apply for a license, many believe an opposite effect would be created, where players would be pushed towards shady, unregulated sites.

Instead of this, large gambling companies licensed in Malta and Gibraltar propose a different approach similar to the one found in the United Kingdom and Denmark. Interested online casinos and gambling sites would be able to apply for local licenses and would need to adhere to local laws, but they wouldn’t be forced out of the market.

Despite the fact the IP ban would be against the spirit of freedom to provide services in the EU, the Ministry of Finance seems firm in its decision. They came up with an idea they hope would deter foreign operators and prevent them from trying to bypass or battle the ban.

Namely, the Ministry proposes that all contracts between Austrian players and unlicensed operators over the last 30 years are proclaimed null and void. This would mean that the operators would be forced to return all the players’ losses from the past three decades.

Although the legality and enforceability of this law are highly questionable, the Ministry hopes the threat alone will be enough to keep the operators at bay.

Certain companies have announced they will be fighting for their rights using all legal means at their disposal. One of these is bet-at-home, a company that employs more than 300 people at their Linz office and voluntarily pays 40% tax to the state despite not having a local gambling license. Bet-at-home and others have no problems with paying their dues but they refuse to sit idle as the country tries to enact a market monopoly, which is something the European Union won’t easily accept, either.

George Miller started his career in content marketing and has started working as an Editor/Content Manager for our company in 2016. George has acquired many experiences when it comes to interviews and newsworthy content becoming Head of Content in 2017. He is responsible for the news being shared on multiple websites that are part of the European Gaming Media Network.

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Central Europe

STS to Open Premium Outlets in Polish Cities

Niji Narayan

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STS to Open Premium Outlets in Polish Cities
Photo Source: kompetencjeit.pl
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

STS, the largest bookmaker in Poland, is going to open premium outlets. STS claims that despite the development on the Internet, stationery business still makes sense.

STS has the largest share in the domestic market. The company generates the majority of revenues on the internet, but states that the fixed-line network being built since the 1990s still accounts for around 20% revenues.

“We will invest over a dozen million PLN in launching premium premises in the largest Polish cities. The first facility of this type has already started in Szczecin, and the next will be opened in Warsaw, Wrocław, Kraków and Gdańsk. Standard premises have about 30-35 square meters of space, these will have more than 150 sq m. We want top locations so that these facilities can serve as a showcase of the company,” Mateusz Juroszek, president of STS said.

“A few years ago, it seemed that the bookmaking business would quickly move to the internet and keeping the stationery premises would have no point. However, it did not happen – and there is no indication that this will happen. Land-based outlets have a large, loyal group of clients, and – contrary to stereotypes – they are not, above all, old people staying in them. The average age of a customer is less than 40 years,” Mateusz Juroszek said.

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Central Europe

Czech Government to Increase Taxes on Alcohol, Tobacco and Gambling

Niji Narayan

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Czech Government to Increase Taxes on Alcohol, Tobacco and Gambling
Photo Source: atlasobscura.com
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

The Czech government is going to raise the taxes on alcohol, tobacco and gambling. The Czech Finance Minister Alena Schiller has cited an increase in average salary and purchasing power of the citizens to advocate an increase in taxes.

“The average wage growth [in the Czech Republic] between 2009 and 2018 was 45%, while consumer tax on alcohol was last increased in 2010 and we will not raise it again until 2020,” Alena Schiller said.

As per the proposed tax revision, taxes on hard liquor would increase by 13%, cigarettes by 10%, sports betting by 2% and lotteries and games of chance by 7%. The revised and increased taxation could chip in an additional 10 billion crowns in annual tax revenue once it comes into effect.

“Both the World Health Organization and the OECD recommend that we do something about alcohol and tobacco consumption, and one of the most effective recommendations is a higher tax burden,” Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtech said.

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Central Europe

BETFAN enters and changes the Polish bookmaking market

George Miller

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BETFAN enters and changes the Polish bookmaking market
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

BETFAN, which debuted on the Polish bookmaker market, wants to attract players with innovative solutions. In addition to the possibilities of betting on sports, live betting and esports, as the only firm in Poland offers a wide range of bets on entertainment, covering peri-sports topics, as well as from the area of media, politics, show business, economics or even the weather. BETFAN currently focuses exclusively on the Internet, and intends to gain a position through intensive, modern communication in this channel and a rich package of benefits for the players. Within the span of 3-4 years, BETFAN wants to be ranked among the 5 largest licensed bookmakers in the country.

“We want to change the perception of bookmaker bets. Therefore, we are not focusing solely on just sporting events and their results, we look closely to the surroundings and we try to offer our fans a variety of bets matching their various interests. With us you can bet on almost anything. In order to not to create additional barriers, we take on us payment of tax on games, and each new player can take advantage of the highest welcome bonus on the market, worth PLN 3,000” – explains Piotr Sienkiewicz, CEO of BETFAN.

BETFAN offers over 1.5 million different bets per month. According to the brand’s slogan: “You do not play, you will not win!”, wants to create the best possible environment in order to attract clients not used to betting before, to bet on selected events. Original and fresh content added on a daily basis, intuitive website betfan.pl with transparent modern design and straightforward UI/UX, as well as attractive promotions and financial incentives for the players, are the additional factors to build competitive advantage of BETFAN on the local market. What distinguishes this sportsbook from its competitors, are also innovative solutions used in the service of user accounts that enable simple and automated registration process using OCR technology, and guarantee fast payouts.

“We focus on continuous development of the offer and gaining an ever stronger position on the market. However, we do not want to follow the usual patterns, but through the modern forms of communication, speed, accuracy and professionalism, we want to provide the players with unique impressions and emotions related to betting on various events. We want to become the sportsbook of the 21st century on the Polish market” – comments Piotr Sienkiewicz.

In addition to the typical sports betting, BETFAN brings you the possibility to bet on such diverse and unusual events such as e.g. who will be the next James Bond after Daniel Craig? Will the Polish soccer champion finally advance to the group stage of the UEFA Champions League in the 2019/2020 season? Which car will be the European Car 2020? Will Donald Trump resign from the presidency during his first term? Who will host the Olympic Winter Games in 2026? In which city in June 2019 will be the most days with rain? Which organization is the first to send a man to Mars? Who will be elected the next Pope after Pope Francis? What will the turnout be in the upcoming European elections? Who will be the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms at the end of the 8th season of “Game of thrones”? And many, many more.

BETFAN started as the tenth entity in the Polish online bookmaking market. It is a company with 100% Polish capital, built on the basis of experienced management staff in the industry. Piotr Sienkiewicz, the president of the board, previously worked for ForBET and Totolotek. In the latter, he had the opportunity to cooperate with Grzegorz Kiczko, who is responsible for the operational activity of BETFAN. Jarogniew Muszyński, holding position of the head of IT, also gained experience in ForBET and Totolotek. The head of BETFAN marketing, Jakub Świsłowski, worked before for Onet, Agora and Polish Oil and Gas Company.

BETFAN has already proved its effectiveness and efficiency – it’s not only a bookmaker who the fastest obtained the permission from the Ministry of Finance, but then in the shortest period launched the activity – exactly within six months since obtaining a license. In the next of 3-4 years, wants to be ranked among the top 5 legal bookmakers in Poland turnover wise.

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