bet-at-home Pulls Out Of Austrian Online Casino Market
Austria came out with new gaming regulations early this year that looks to provide better protection to its players, establish a new gambling watchdog and take legal action against unlicensed operators. Casinos Austria is the only licensed operator in Austria.
bet-at-home was one of the many unlicensed operators offering their services in Austria. The operator announced this week that it will stop offering online casino services in the country going forward.
This was due to the potential of its legal risk increasing as Austrian players have filed a lawsuit claiming reimbursement from losses incurred playing at unlicensed online casinos.
bet-at-home remains positive that the ruling in this case will be positive but knows that a decision on the lawsuit is not likely to be made any time in the near future. The operator released a statement and said bet-at-home.com AG Group does not believe it violated any laws in Austria as its operations were legal under European law.
The operator said that even though the lawsuit was not admissible under civil law, it decided that the level of risk increases if it continues to offer unlicensed casino games in Austria, given the fact that the current lawsuit is likely to drag on for a longer period of time and the level of risk during this period steadily increases.
Based on the result of the lawsuit and the decision from the Austrian tax office, unlicensed operators such as bet-at-home could end up having to pay close to 40 percent of all customer losses.
bet-at-home Could Resume Operations
bet-at-home said that it would consider returning to the Austrian casino market depending on how things go with the lawsuit and the new gaming regulations. Once bet-at-home confirmed it was pulling out of Austria, it also reduced its revenue expects from €100 to €110 million to €93 to €98 million.
bet-at-home did not say if its lower revenue expectations were directly linked to its exit from the Austrian market. The operator’s Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA) expectations for H1 stood at €8 to €10 million but is now set to fall below minus €10 to €14 million.
While the dip in revenue is going to hurt bet-at-home in the short term, the operator is confident that it will resume operations in Austria at a future date as it views the gaming regulations in Austria to be a violation of EU law.