Austria: Communist Party in favor of banning small-scale gambling

The Communist Party of Austria (KPÖ) in the province of Styria is said to be in favor of a ban on small-scale gambling. The party wants to reverse a law that re-regulated slot machine gambling in Styria in 2016, according to a Kronen Zeitung report published Friday.

The reason, it said, was the great dangers for players. At slot machines, players in Styria are allowed to wager 10 euros per game. A game round lasts one second. There is no maximum daily playing time. The KPÖ therefore considers a ban on small-scale gambling to be the only way forward. KPÖ Klubobfrau Claudia Klimt-Weithaler had stated that “vending machines have a particularly negative effect on gambling addicts”.

Gambling addiction in connection with small gambling is a current topic in Styria. Only on Thursday, the Fachstelle für Glücksspielsucht Steiermark had presented its new self-help group “Gemeinsam spielfrei”. The goal of the online self-help group is to “get a grip on gambling problems through mutual exchange and assistance.”

The Communist Party of Austria (KPÖ) in the province of Styria is said to be campaigning for a ban on small-scale gambling. The party wants to reverse a law that re-regulated slot machine gambling in Styria in 2016, according to a casinovergleich.eu report published Friday.

The reason, it said, was the great dangers for players. At slot machines, players in Styria are allowed to wager 10 euros per game. A game round lasts one second. There is no maximum daily playing time. The KPÖ therefore considers a ban on small-scale gambling to be the only way forward. KPÖ Klubobfrau Claudia Klimt-Weithaler had stated, “Automats have a particularly negative effect on gambling addicts.”

Gambling addiction in connection with small gambling is a current topic in Styria. Only on Thursday, the Fachstelle für Glücksspielsucht Steiermark had presented its new self-help group “Gemeinsam spielfrei”. The goal of the online self-help group is to “get a grip on gambling problems through mutual exchange and assistance.”

Player protection has long been an issue

The KPÖ’s positioning comes at a time when Austrian politicians are already working on a new gambling package that is to include stricter player protection measures. However, the party’s critical stance toward the gambling industry is not fundamentally new.

In a position paper of the KPÖ Styria from September 6, 2019, the party explicitly took a position on the topic of gambling. It states there:

“As the only party, the KPÖ stands for a ban on small-scale gambling in its current form. In the interest of a powerful gambling industry, thousands are driven to ruin, and politics looks on.”

On November 16, 2019, the party then published a detailed article, which primarily criticized the alleged entanglements between Austrian politics and the gambling sector.

In particular, the links between Austrian federal politics and Novomatic AG were criticized. According to the KPÖ, however, major Styrian parties also maintained “close ties to the gambling industry.” Among others, the former ÖVP member of parliament Wolfgang Kasic was named, who in 2011 as chairman of the subcommittee for gambling in the provincial parliament was said to have accepted funds for Novomatic advertisements and later resigned.

Klimt-Weithaler had already stated at the time that the gambling industry should no longer be allowed to dictate state policy.