Financial police in Austria raided 17 suspected illegal gambling venues this week. 16 were still in operation and swiftly shut down.
A series of simultaneous raids
A number of bars and restaurants were targeted by authorities. They were connected by an “almost perfect warning system” which alerted them to the raids ahead of time. According to Austria’s Ministry of Finance, the locations were stormed at the same time to prevent any communication between each venue.
Access was granted voluntarily with no need for forced entry. Once inside, they found a minimum of 17 gambling machines in each venue. Five of these were bolted to the floor and required assistance from the fire brigade to remove.
A culmination of months of investigation
The Ministry of Finance confirmed that the raids transpired as a result of extensive inquiries spanning a number of months. Each venue found to be operating illegally will now be thoroughly investigated and the necessary action taken.
Finance Minister Gernot Blümel was impressed by the outcome of the raids: “The record of the night of action is impressive,” he said. “A total of 91 devices were confiscated and transported away by the financial police. I congratulate my colleagues in the financial police on this blow against the gambling mafia and on their professional work.”
A rise in illegal gambling in Austria
In January 2021, the Ministry of Finance reported that the number of illegal gaming devices seized in 2020 had increased dramatically. Financial police also raided and shut down a further two illegal gambling venues in the country in February of this year.