The 35-year-old from Upper Austria supports the allegations of player aid that brought in the ads in February. “It’s crazy, they have a license for Austria, but don’t stick to anything,” said the man, who wished to remain anonymous.
After being banned for life from Casinos Austria and WINWIN 2021, the man began playing in Amatic’s Lower Austrian bars under the Mysino umbrella brand. “I got up in the night and drove several 100 kilometers to Lower Austria to gamble,” he said. At Amatic, the family man had himself “banned indefinitely” in March 2022, but was able to lift the ban after just one month without any problems, as a look at his player information shows. In total, the 35-year-old lost around 30,000 euros during his 24 visits. Then the Upper Austrian was banned for life. Since then he has been in therapy and today describes himself as no longer addicted.
For those affected, the behavior of the machine manufacturer is extremely dangerous, he said about his experiences with the Upper Austrian gaming company. “When I wanted to have my ban lifted, I was asked, ‘Can you afford it?'” He then lied. “What will a severe addict answer who can only play with one operator?” Such queries served purely to alibi the company. “After all, they can see on the access cards how many losses I’ve already made.”
The fact that you can also smoke freely in the bars is another problem. “Of course you stay longer if you can smoke there,” he said, pointing out that he himself is a heavy smoker. Free food and drinks in the bars would also ensure that players would get into a real frenzy. “If I ordered three toasts, then I got them too – for free. Of course that promotes the whole thing.” Today, the 35-year-old service technician is questioning the industry. “They have a licence, but don’t follow any rules. Then why is there a licence?” That was his tenor.
Branched company network
Amatic operates slot machine salons at 35 locations in Carinthia, Styria and Lower Austria via a branched company network. The player’s help recently brought 59 complaints against the machine manufacturer and casino operator to the responsible authorities and the Ministry of Finance. In it, the voluntary association accuses the company of illegal online gambling, among other things. Amatic games are playable on the Internet through a Malta-registered online casino in Austria. The call runs via the local domains and servers of Amatic. win2day is currently the only legal provider of games of chance on the Internet in Austria.
When asked by APA, Lukas Urban, the lawyer for Amatic Industries GmbH, which is part of the company network, also commented on the allegations of illegal gambling. In any case, the company does not operate its own online casino, but as a GmbH it produces machines and “gambling (software) for both terrestrial and online gambling markets”. The devices produced, as well as the software produced, would be sold internationally, provided this was permitted by the applicable legal framework in the relevant markets, it said. “However, Amatic Industries GmbH is in no case the operator (neither nationally nor internationally) of a casino, a gambling hall, an online casino or any other facility in the B2C area. It is the responsibility of each individual operator (both location-related and in the Internet; both nationally and internationally) to comply with the legal framework/conditions accordingly,” said Urban. “As a producer, Amatic Industries GmbH cannot be held responsible for any misconduct by third parties (operators of any kind).” You can reject all allegations of player aid and reserve the right to take legal action against the club, said Urban.
In addition, the ads are about violations of non-smoker protection and player protection. Player aid spokesman Christoph Holubar referred to covert controls that the club carried out last year and this year. The inspectors discovered, among other things, smoking cabins, ashtrays, a free catering offer, unsafe locking mechanisms, missing access controls and other violations. At a recent press conference, Holubar spoke of a “devastating extent” and referred to studies on a connection between smoking and gambling addiction. Accordingly, a smoking ban is a tried and tested remedy against problematic and pathological gambling.
According to the player’s help, Amatic has now stopped advertising the free gastro offer in the bars. “We are constantly updating our homepage to provide our customers with up-to-date information, just like any other committed company does,” said Robert Laimer, Managing Director of Amatic Entertainment AG and Panther Gaming Enterprise AG to the APA. As part of Amatic’s protection concept for players, the content of the discussions about lifting self-locks is not intended for the public, it said. “All our customers who want to lift an active self-ban must submit an application for this to be lifted. This will be processed by our player protection officer and in the course of this discussions will also be held by telephone and/or in person.” The allegations made about online gambling affect neither Amatic Entertainment AG nor PG Enterprise AG, it said.
According to player aid, around 90,000 people across Austria are dependent. However, the number of unreported cases is estimated to be significantly higher, it said. At the beginning of the week, NEOS submitted a parliamentary question to the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection regarding “lack of player protection”.
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