The Austrians are among the most avid gamblers in Europe, with Austria usually ranking in fourth or fifth place behind Scandinavian countries, when it comes to the money spent on their pastime.
This is hardly a shocking piece of gambling news to the experts. “The farther north you go, the more will be played,” observes Andreas Kreutzer of Kreutzer Fischer & Partner, a market research firm that recently published some statistics about the domestic gambling industry.
According to their research, Austrians wagered around EUR 14 billion in 2012, on everything from lottery, casinos and slots, to online gambling. Subtracting the winnings paid still leaves the industry with a healthy EUR 1.45 billion.
Demonstrating the industry’s crisis resilience once again, the figures have been pretty much unchanged despite the global financial and economic crisis. Austrian gambling laws allow many different forms of games, though much of the market is monopolized.
Leading in the field of preferred gambling methods is the lottery, played regularly by up to 30% of the population. This habit contributed some EUR 682 million to the industry.
Following global trends, slot machines were not far behind, yielding EUR 354 million. Even though this is a 10% decrease from the year before, the number of machines has also dropped by about 30% since 2010 (from 13,000 to 9,000 units), while the three-year decrease in revenue has been less than 25%.
It may appear that the reduction in the number of machines has led to less people playing or less money being wagered via each machine, but the plain numbers mask a demographic split and diversification. “Older customers are betting on them more, while younger players migrate to online providers,” says Kreutzer.
Indeed, with most other forms showing only a slight increase or decrease in revenues, Austrian internet casino and sportsbooks produced remarkable results, demonstrating a 7% year-on-year increase, to EUR 110 million. Traditional offline sports betting (driven in part by the 2012 Champions League matches) has generated even more money, jumping more than 11% to EUR 128 million.
Brick-and-mortar casinos brought in EUR 179 million during the same period.