Pinnacle leaving Austria (closing all accounts) due to regulation changes

Danny7

New member
Apparently Pinnacle announced this week to its Austrian customers that they will close all Austrian accounts on September 5, 2021. Betting has been disabled since August 23. The reason given are regulation changes in Austria.
Does anybody know what those "regulation changes" are? Are other bookies also affected and leaving Austria?
Would be great if anybody has any details or information to share (even if it's a German link).

It's sad how regulations in European countries are limiting bettor's choices. You take a look at the terms and conditions of Pinnacle (and other good bookies) and almost all European countries are banned. Austria was one of the last European countries that Pinnacle accepted, now it's gone too. Sad week for European sports betting....
 

BMR_Brad

Moderator
Staff member
Looks like they stopped doing business there since 2018.

I think it has technically not been legalized for Pinny to offer betting to Austrians for quite a while.

But this message to users is confirmed. No idea what the exact reason is for doing it right now is though.
 

Bubbles

Member
I think it has technically not been legalized for Pinny to offer betting to Austrians for quite a while.

But this message to users is confirmed. No idea what the exact reason is for doing it right now is though.
Thank you for the clarification Brad.
 

Danny7

New member
I think it has technically not been legalized for Pinny to offer betting to Austrians for quite a while.

But this message to users is confirmed. No idea what the exact reason is for doing it right now is though.
I'm not a legal expert, but I don't think Pinnacle has been operating illegally in Austria. Because of their Malta license I would have said it was legal or at worst in a legal gray area, just like most (almost all) other sportsbooks (will explain in next post). I'm not sure what (if anything) changed now.
 

Danny7

New member
Like I said, I'm not a legal expert, but this should be mostly correct.

When it comes to legal issues of sports betting in Austria there are two key aspects to know:
1) in Austrian law gambling and sports betting are regulated separately. This is in part because Austrian law regards sports betting as a game of skill, unlike gambling (casino, slots, and even poker) which are regarded as games of luck by law. So the gambling law (Glücksspielgesetz) doesn't apply to sports betting. The gambling law is a federal law and so applies to all 9 states (Länder).
2) Sports betting is not regulated on the federal level, but on the state level, so there are basically 9 different sports betting laws. In the last couple of years there have been changes to the sports betting laws in all 9 states, but those changes mostly affect what local betting shops can do and offer, and shouldn't affect online sportsbooks. Online sportsbooks that have a license in a EU state (like Malta) can operate legally.
 

Danny7

New member
There will be a substantial change in the gambling law in the near future. That shouldn't affect sports betting directly because gambling and sports betting are separate by law, but nonetheless it will affect some (ore even many) online sportsbooks.
Parliament will probably vote on the gambling law reform this autumn and it will the take effect in the beginning of 2022.

Not all the details of the new law are clear yet, but some changes that are proposed with a high probability of passing are:
- online casino and gaming providers will have to be licensed by a new Austrian licensing authority that will be created; this would mean that all the casinos with a Malta license would now be illegal, and the only legal gaming provider would be Casinos Austria with its state guaranteed monopoly. For other gaming sites it will be impossible to get the license in the near future.
- the introduction of a ISP blocking system for gaming sites without local license
- a ban of gambling advertising

This affects sportsbooks because many of them also offer casino and other gaming on their sites and generate a lot of revenue through that. So in order to continue to have access to Austria for their sports betting product they would have to block casino access to Austrians or something like that (have a special/separate site for Austrians.....). Of course the advertising ban would also hit sportsbooks and sports teams hard, because sponsoring teams is good advertising for sportsbooks and good money for teams.

I'm just speculating, but maybe this could be the reason for Pinnacle leaving, because they also have a casino and so their site would be blocked. But if it's really that, then couldn't they just remove the casino for Austrians?
I don't know, maybe there are other reasons, but the coming changes in the gambling law are the only thing that makes sense to me. Unless it has to do with changes in financial regulations, which is a whole new can of worms.
 
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