Browse topics

  • Governing law
    NameLaw or Code?
    Games of Chance Act (Glücksspielgesetz, 'GSpG') Law
    Criminal Act (Strafgesetzbuch, 'StGB'): s. 168 StGB Law
    Consumer Protection Act (Konsumentenschutzgesetz, 'KSchG') Law
    Unfair Competition Act (Gesetz gegen den unlauteren Wettbewerb, 'UWG') – General Provisions Law
    E-Commerce Act (E-Commerce-Gesetz, 'ECG') - relevant where prize promotions are offered online Law
    Data Protection Act 2000 (Datenschutzgesetz, 'DSG 2000') Law

    Last modified 10 Feb 2017

  • Extra-territoriality

    Yes, the courts will apply and enforce domestic provisions in relation to prize promotions, which are published on foreign media, but directed at the domestic public, especially if published on the internet.

    Last modified 10 Feb 2017

  • Skills competitions

    Yes, but ensure the winner is picked on the basis of skill, not chance.

    The skill element must be predominant, ie sufficiently complex to ensure that everyone cannot automatically be considered a winner.

    In addition:

    • The promotion must not invoke a psychological pressure on participants to buy the promoted products or services, and

    • The conditions for participation must be stated clearly and unambiguously

    Last modified 10 Feb 2017

  • Prize draws

    Unlawful, unless:

    • Participants do not pay to enter

      'Payment' is broadly interpreted by courts and includes a scenario where the purchase of goods or services is a pre-condition for participation and the price for the goods or services is higher than the market rate for such goods or services. A requirement to use a telephone number triggering a higher than standard rate is considered an unlawful payment for entry.

    • The promotion does not invoke a psychological pressure on participants to buy the promoted products or services, and

    • The conditions for participation are stated clearly and unambiguously
    Note: If participants pay to enter, in order to participate, a license, granted under the Austrian Games of Chance Act, is required.

    Last modified 10 Feb 2017

  • Selection of winners

    The conditions for both skills competitions and prize draws, including for the awarding of the prizes, have to be transparent to participants.

    Last modified 10 Feb 2017

  • Judges

    The applicable laws on prize promotions do not include a provision regarding the selection of judges or judging for skill competitions.

    Nevertheless the conditions for skill competitions and prize draws have to be transparent and easily accessible for participants (Art. 6 Sec 1 Cif 4 ECG).

    Last modified 10 Feb 2017

  • Prizes

    The promotion must not invoke a psychological pressure to buy the promoted products or services, nor may it be aggressive.

    A promotion is deemed aggressive if a false impression is given to the consumer that the prize has already been won, will be won, or will be won upon undertaking specified activities and:

    • There is no prize or benefit, or

    • The prize will be awarded only upon paying an amount or assuming costs

    Last modified 10 Feb 2017

  • Registration requirements and fees

    Registration Requirements

    Certain prize draws (eg lotteries) require an authorization from the Ministry of Finance and are subject to strict regulations.

    Fees/Taxes payable

    Certain prize draws (eg lotteries) require payment of taxes.

    Prizes from promotional free of charge games are subject to a tax of 5% of the total value of all prizes (if the value of all prizes exceeds €10,000). The prize promotion organizers or contracting parties are liable for the tax.

    Last modified 10 Feb 2017

  • Other local requirements

    For business-to-consumer promotions, supporting terms and conditions must be in German.

    For business-to-business promotions the use of German language is recommended but not mandatory.

    Last modified 10 Feb 2017

  • Timing

    Austrian laws do not require any registration of terms and conditions of prize promotions.

    But time should be allowed to deal with data protection issues (eg ensuring an appropriate privacy policy is in place and including appropriate tick box functionality for consents, or, notification with / approval by the Data Protection Authority, if required).

    Last modified 10 Feb 2017

  • Translations

    For promotions aimed at consumers, the terms and conditions must be in German.

    In respect of business-to-business promotions, the use of German language is highly recommended but not mandatory.

    Last modified 10 Feb 2017

  • Penalties for non-compliance
    • According to Art. 168 Sec 1 Criminal Code the organization of a game in which profits and losses exclusively or predominantly depend on chance or which is expressly prohibited may result in monetary fines of up to 360 times the daily rates* of the conducting person's average daily income or imprisonment for up to six months.

      (*The court determines a certain amount of the fine dependent on the economic capacity of the infringer. A daily rate for an individual may range from €4 – €5,000..Businesses conducting such games are subject to a monetary fine of up to 40 times the business's average daily profit (calculated by dividing the annual return by 360).)

    • Art 52 Games of Chance Act provides for administrative penalties when violating provisions of this Act.

      The conduct of illicit draws is punished by the authority with a fine of up to €22,000.

    • The E-Commerce Act includes administrative penalties with a fine of up to €3,000 in Art. 26, when violating the information requirements (transparent and easy access to the conditions) applicable to prize promotions.

    • Unlawful conduct of promotional games may be determined as misleading practice under the Austrian Unfair Competition Act, especially if the announced prizes are not awarded.

      In such cases civil claims for injunctive relief, for cease and desist and for damages can be filed as well as a claim for publication of the judgment can be made.

    • Additionally the confiscation of infringing products can be ordered by the authority according to Art. 53 Games of Chance Act.

    Last modified 10 Feb 2017

  • Restrictiveness of regulations

    In Austria there are only a handful of provisions setting out requirements regarding prize promotions. Those provisions are not unduly onerous, as there is no registration or other formality requirement. Therefore most prize promotion mechanisms are allowed as long as it is not a game of chance as defined by applicable Austrian gaming laws. Also the provisions of the Unfair Competition Act prohibiting misleading or aggressive prize promotions need to be complied with.

    Last modified 10 Feb 2017

  • Regularity of sanctions

    Administrative fines are rarely imposed by the competent regional administrative authorities (Bezirksverwaltungs-behörden). In the few existing cases the fines have always been moderate.

    Note: Prize draws that are games of chance, as defined under the Austrian Games of Chance Act, require a license. Their operation without a license is a criminal offense.

    Misleading practice due to unlawful conduct of promotional games often give rise to complaints of competitors. A few complaints result in proceedings in front of the courts.

    Last modified 10 Feb 2017

  • Key contacts
    Sabine Fehringer
    Sabine Fehringer
    Partner DLA Piper Weiss-Tessbach [email protected] T +43 1 531 78 1460 View bio
    Stefan Panic
    Stefan Panic
    Associate DLA Piper Weiss-Tessbach [email protected] T +43 1 531 78 1034

Governing law

What are the applicable governing laws or codes for prize promotions?

Austria

Austria

NameLaw or Code?
Games of Chance Act (Glücksspielgesetz, 'GSpG') Law
Criminal Act (Strafgesetzbuch, 'StGB'): s. 168 StGB Law
Consumer Protection Act (Konsumentenschutzgesetz, 'KSchG') Law
Unfair Competition Act (Gesetz gegen den unlauteren Wettbewerb, 'UWG') – General Provisions Law
E-Commerce Act (E-Commerce-Gesetz, 'ECG') - relevant where prize promotions are offered online Law
Data Protection Act 2000 (Datenschutzgesetz, 'DSG 2000') Law