Blümel: “Heavy blow dealt to illegal gambling” Rien ne va plus” - Meticulously planned, coordinated action by the Financial Police against the gambling mafia - 91 machines seized

In a coordinated operation yesterday evening the Financial Police dealt a heavy blow to illegal gambling. 51 Financial Police employees were involved in the operation, supported by 28 police officers. The raids took place at the same time in 17 different locations, in particular in Linz, Wels, Steyr, Traun and Vienna. As the establishments involved were linked together by, according to the Financial Police, “an almost perfect early warning system”, it was essential to raid the locations simultaneously so as to breach their information flow. The illegal gambling dens, in the main, are to be found in covert, seemingly closed backstreet bars with personal access controls.

In fact, only one location was closed. The officers were allowed into the bars with no resistance offered; it was therefore not necessary to break down the doors.  However, in five of the locations the machines were screwed to the floor and could only be removed with the aid of the fire service; and the assistance of Cobra was required in two further cases.

The raids were preceded by some very intensive investigative work and analysis.

But the authorities were nevertheless surprised at what they found at the locations: up to 17 machines were discovered at the nondescript establishments. At the location in Wels it was necessary to call out Cobra to get the devices out of their fixings.

In Steyr, too, the Financial Police found a bar that was “well filled” with 12 devices.

Finance Minister Gernot Blümel commented: “The operation last night produced excellent results. In total, 91 devices were seized and taken away by the Financial Police. I would like to congratulate Financial Police staff for this blow struck against the gambling mafia and for their highly professional work.”

At several of the establishments, a closure warrant was successfully served on behalf of the Federal State Police Authority in question. Intensive investigations are currently underway to track down and arrest the people behind these illegal operations.