On October 22, 2018, Austrian media reported that the Regional Court of Wiener Neustadt had ruled in favor of an unidentified plaintiff who sued Novomatic after losing slightly more than €2m playing the company’s slots between 2002 and 2012. Novomatic has been ordered to repay this sum, plus interest.
Naturally, Novomatic, the giant of European gambling, have already promised to appeal the ruling. It’s worth noting that there is an Austrian precedent for the decision: in 2014, a court ordered Novomatic to repay €440k in the case of another addict’s play.
That same year, Vienna’s municipal government proposed a ban on slot machines outside casinos, which took effect on January 1, 2015. At the time, the city reportedly had around 2,600 non-casino slots, 1,500 of which were operated by Novomatic.
The local pols claimed the ban was intended to reduce the likelihood of local residents gambling away their mortgage money while filling up at a local gas station or enjoying a pint on the way home from work. However, critics said the ban was more intended to shore up the bottom line of the state-owned Casinos Austria group (in which, ironically, Novomatic now holds a significant ownership stake).