Salzburg police confiscate 76 illegal game machines
The campaign was conducted in cooperation with the Salzburg police and a Cobra task force between 6-14 April, with the ministry saying that the police can claim “a great deal of success” for its actions. The operators of the illegal machines could be fined up to €30,000 per unit, although actual fines run towards €5,000 on average.
“This is a blow to organised crime,” said Austrian finance minister Magnus Brunner. “The illegal gambling operators make huge profits at the expense of gambling addicts. Resolute action by the financial police is of great importance here and we will not show any tolerance towards criminals in the future either.”
During the four days of operation, 15 financial police officers worked together with 20 local police officers to carry out the enforcement action.
The police visited seven bars – all of which were camouflaged from the outside as different categories of businesses, including as a nail salon, a tanning salon and an internet café.
The individuals that operated the locations had secured all the premises with magnetic locks and had set video monitoring equipment both inside and outside. The police said that “coercive force” was required to attain access to five of the bars, while two more needed the services of a locksmith to be employed.
The finance ministry highlighted one operator of an illegal gambling establishment who had acted “particularly boldly”. Following nine machines being confiscated on the first day of operation from the venue, nine more devices were discovered five days later when the police again visited the bar.
“Another bar was found in a basement where 15 illegal slot machines were found,” said the ministry. “Here, too, the operator knew no shame: The company was located right next to an official building and access was via the official car park.”