Spielerhilfe Accuses Austrian Lotteries of "Misconduct" in Protecting Youth

Austrian gambling addiction prevention and player protection group Spielerhilfe is accusing Casinos Austria's Österreichische Lotterien of "gross misconduct" in terms of protecting young people from gambling after conducting a number of mystery shopper checks across two regions of the country.

The minimum age to purchase lottery tickets was recently raised to 18 from the previous age of 16, but this change hasn't been properly broadcast to retail spots that sell tickets across the country. Spielerhilfe says that this is in violation of the Salzburg Youth Act and that a mystery shopping sting showed that 60% of retail spots were selling tickets to youth in the 12 to 14 year age range. These underage sales happened 24 times in the Salzburg and Upper Austria regions during the sting, and the group is calling on the Austrian Ministry of Finance to conduct a review of the lottery operator. Additionally, the group is calling for ID laws, which would make it mandatory for buyers of tickets to provide ID to ensure they're of age.

There are penalties for shops that don't comply with the law, as shops can be fined between €250 and €14,600 per offence, and jail time of up to four weeks can be dished out. Additionally, the country can revoke the business licences of businesses that continue to break the law by selling tickets to youth.

During a press conference, Spielerhilfe Chairman Christoph Holubar said, "The protection of minors is still not guaranteed. In more than half of all test purchases, children were able to buy Austrian Lottery products, even though they are only available to those aged 18 and over. The company has big problems controlling its sales partners.

"As a basic requirement, the Austrian lotteries must ensure proper player protection. The violations in Salzburg, but also in the other federal states, confirm that this is not guaranteed. The protection of young game participants is an absolute basic requirement that fails here. That is why the responsible authorities should now check whether the Austrian lotteries actually have the necessary reliability to be able to continue to keep the licence."

As of press time Casinos Austria's Österreichische Lotterien hadn't issued a comment on the matter.

Casino Listings News is following this story and will update readers as appropriate.

About the author

Therese Williams // UK Correspondent
Therese Williams
Therese is a fervent fan of slot machines and pub fruities, often trying her luck at some of the top online casinos. She covers news for Casino Listings with a focus on the UK and Europe. Therese studied arts and creative writing at university and has written for newspapers in the UK.

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