According to news reports, the powers that be in the capital of Austria decided in November to ban all slot machines not on casino floors. Today they can be found in petrol stations and other unregulated environs. Some estimates put the number of slot machines in the capitol at over 2,500. There are about 10 legitimate casinos in the Vienna metro area. The ordinance or law is to come into effect in January 2015. Part of the given reasoning for the ban was that slot machine rooms outside of casinos tend to be in less affluent neighborhoods.
On February 17 of this year krone.at reported that a Viennese gambler had filed suit for some of his losses at slot machine rooms, which in the city do not have “problem gambler” exclusion rules in place like the actual casinos do. The suit was filed against the vendor or machine provider, Novomatic.
On December 11, a local court handed down a ruling absolving the gambler in question of 440,000 of the 800,000 Euros he claimed to have lost to the machines. Although the reported losses were much higher, the 46 year old Viennese construction representative sued for 800,000. He claimed he was not responsible for some of the losses, and a psychiatric evaluation backed up his claim, convincing the court. The period in question was between 2006 and 2010.
Pathological behavior is rarely a defense to gambling debt, and it is unlikely to be a survivable claim as an appeal has been filed by Novomatic. However, in European law since the Union, almost anything is possible as there seems to be a pesky element of fairness rather than hubris involved in many court decisions when it comes to “the little guy” vs the State or corporation.
The gambler claimed that he was not looking to enrich himself with a favorable judgement, which has come to pass, but rather to “resign his creditors”.