Austria is famed for being the birthplace of geniuses like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Sigmund Freud and statesmen that heavily influenced the past 100 years like Arnold Schwarzenegger. They are a prosperous nation that is equally rich in terms of top-class athletes. Footballers like David Alaba and Christian Fuchs, tennis man Dominic Thiem or basketball player Jakob Poeltl are excellent examples of Austrians on top of their game.
With such a good representation in the sporting world, it’s only natural that Austrians are also highly involved in sports betting via international and Austrian betting sites. Combined with a powerful economy and high standards of living, gambling has the proper environment to flourish with Austrian betting companies growing on a year to year basis. However, the laws referring to online betting are anything but straightforward, making things complicated for top international bookmakers that want to apply for a license. Luckily, though, there are no measures taken to restrict access to unlicensed operators.
Historically, betting and gambling have been legal in Austria ever since the 1989 Gambling Act was passed. However, as a response to a rise in gambling addiction, the government decided to roll out stricter laws on games of chance. This lead to an amendment of the 1989 Gambling Act that was introduced in June 2010. The amendment stated that bettings sites allowed in Austria need to possess a license. However, to obtain a license, the company has to be physically located in the country and offer their services to Austrian players exclusively.
Of course, such biased regulation towards Austrian sports betting companies meant that the international bookies decided against setting up shop in the country. However, the EU Court of Justice was involved in a couple of cases, stating that the new law was far from being complete or fair.
A new bill was drafted in November 2015, called the Vienna Betting Act that was immediately submitted to the European Commission. Besides regulating consumer rights and limiting illegal practices in Austria, this law is also supposed to replace the outdated Act on Charges for Totalisator and Bookmaker Betting and Measures to Suppress Illegal Gambling from 1919.
Another attempt to amend the Gambling Act of 1989 came in March 2018, and involved IP tracking and DNS blocking for illegal operators. However, all these attempts were not given a final form and the situation in Austria is still far from being clear.
Luckily, despite this confusion, punters are not left wanting on top betting sites in Austria as many well-known brands are present: Bwin, bet-at-home, Admiral Sportwetten, Interwetten or Win2Day are all available in the country.
Recently, Lower Austria introduced a legal framework for online betting that is very restrictive for online gambling participants. Among the authoritarian features of this new proposed framework we see, an online license validity of only 2 years, restrictions regarding live betting, and a maximum limit of €350 per bet. These are widely considered to be discriminatory and unwarranted by the International Betting Integrity Association who have yet to give the nod to this proposal. So, it goes without saying that there’s a lot to be figured out by Austrian authorities when it comes to online betting sites.
With so much back and forth with from a legislative point of view, Austrian punters expect a smooth experience with any betting website Austria approves. This, of course, translates into punters wanting to find high odds, a diverse betting offer especially when talking about football – the German Bundesliga is the most prominent market – tennis and winter sports. Of course, the best sports betting sites in Austria make sure to provide their website and customer support in German. It’s well known that Austrians are all about efficiency so a website that does its job without too many eye-catching features is also a good idea.
Despite all the confusion brought by the regulations on sport betting sites in Austria, access to international bookmakers has not been restricted yet. Indeed, there were all sorts of bills and proposals but for the moment punters in this country are free to choose between Austrian bookmakers and their international counterparts.. However, with an ever-changing political and legislative climate, it’s not certain how long things will stay this way.
And even though there are no restrictions when it comes to accessing international bookmakers or claiming various betting sites bonuses, you should always make sure that the one you choose has a license issued by one of the respectable authorities in the industry.
Luckily, all the amendments and new laws that any Austrian online gambling company should follow did not target the payment methods at all. So, punters playing at österreich sportwetten sites have the possibility to choose from a wide list of payment methods to top up their accounts and request withdrawals. It’s natural for a country with so many performant banks to show an evident preference for Instant banking methods like Sofort, Klarna and Giropay. However, credit and debit cards, ewallets like Skrill or Neteller or Paysafe vouchers are also available and widely used.
Due to the complications Austrian online gambling company will face when trying to acquire a betting license, there are no betting exchanges available in Austria. Betfair, the world’s biggest betting exchange was active in the region, however, they decided to leave Austria back in 2014 with no recent intentions of returning. However, punters that wish to enjoy the services of betting exchanges can try their luck on other big names of the industry like Smarkets or Betdaq. Since there are no restrictions in accessing foreign betting sites, all the betting exchanges are available for Austrian punters to choose from.
For licensed operators, contact the Finance Ministry regarding a complaint. Otherwise, if you are playing at a bookmaker licensed by MGA or UKGC, contact the regulatory company directly via the contact forms on their websites. As always, we are here to make sure you get top-quality services from the bookmaker we present, so message us about your issue and we’ll do everything possible to get things sorted for you.