Austria: New rumors about the Concord Card Casinos

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Austria: New rumors about the Concord Card Casinos

What is still simmering in the rumor mill today could be the biggest news for Austrian poker fans tomorrow. There is currently speculation that the Concord Card Casinos (CCC) will reopen soon. The reason for this rumor is a first five-week poker dealer training course, which, according to the organizer’s announcement, will take place in the CCC Simmering on Karl-Gunsam-Strasse in Vienna.

Rumor or prognosis for the future of poker in Austria?

Austria’s poker players have been mourning their private cardrooms, the Concord Card Casinos – CCC for short – of the legendary Viennese poker king Peter Zanoni, who was forced to finally throw in the towel in March of this year after years of clinching with the tax authorities for a good six months. Most players had no choice but to make friends with the limited offers from Casinos Austria AG (CASAG). Others moved to neighboring countries, such as Switzerland, Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic or Slovenia, or looked for fun in several private poker rounds in Austria. Much to the displeasure of the authorities, who caused at least part of these rounds to be blown up by the financial police. However, these measures could only scratch the tip of the iceberg a little. Or rather, the authorities tried to extinguish a wildfire with the proverbial shot glass, obviously in vain. For a few weeks now the rumor mill has been simmering around the Concord Card Casinos, some of which have tried their hand at betting offices or players’ clubs in recent months. Some of the private casinos in Upper Austria were temporarily closed, but opened again shortly afterwards and are now offering poker to the public. Another rumor was in the room for a long time that poker king Zanoni is allegedly planning to convert the rooms of the Concors Card Casinos into betting shops or “entertainment establishments”. Shortly thereafter, however, this was denied again and it was again: “Nothing works!” But now you also have to say: Peter Zanoni wouldn’t be Peter Zanoni if ​​he hadn’t really done everything to get his CCs going again. And if you look at the current post by CCC Simmering, which advertises a poker dealer training course, then everything looks like a comeback for the Concord Card Casinos. If you take this five-week training course as a starting point, then it would actually be possible that gaming could start again in November. We currently have no information about the exact planning.

To the background

Peter Zanoni’s license for his CCCs expired on December 31, 2019. However, this was no reason for the poker king to stop operations. At the time, he referred to the “ongoing legal process” and just carried on. His Concord Card casinos were raided shortly afterwards, and he was then finally forced to close 12 locations in March 2020. In press reports he always emphasized that this closure was only temporary and that his casinos “…” were closed voluntarily in order to prevent guests and employees from being exposed to the unqualified pressure of the financial police, which far exceeded their competencies.

Poker is a game of chance, says the new Austrian law. And that means that only Casinos Austria AG has a license to offer poker legally. The Austrian tax authorities are investigating Zanoni. By law, poker has only been classified as a game of chance for a few years. Previously, you only needed a business license to offer poker. Originally it was even planned to anchor a separate poker license in the Gambling Act, but nothing came of this plan because the corresponding bill was dropped again.

For 27 years, Peter Zanoni operated his Concord Card Casinos with great success throughout Austria, with two locations in Vienna (Lugner City and Simmering) and one each in Salzburg, Bregenz, Innsbruck, Kufstein, Linz, Gmunden and Ischgl, in Reutte, Braunau and Klagenfurt. “Since it was founded in Vienna in 1993, the Concord Group has grown into Europe’s largest and best-known live poker company. The consistent development work by founder Peter Zanoni is partly responsible for the fact that the strategy game poker has become a mass phenomenon, ”the company advertised on its website. With over 20 years of experience, the CCCs were considered “European model companies”. Partners included also the very big international poker tournaments such as the EPT, which also ensured that numerous top stars of the global poker scene such as Tom Dwan and Daniel Negreanu settled down at an Austrian poker table. But that wasn’t all about celebrities who went in and out of Peter Zanoni. Boxer Marcos Nader, TV star Elton and rapper Sido have also been spotted in the Concord Card Casinos. Not to mention the Austrian showbiz celebrities like Peter Rapp and Klaus Eberhartinger. Peter Zanoni and his more than 600 employees should really be indulged in the fact that the former “… shining example of entrepreneurial success in the poker industry” is starting a new life. We will continue to keep an eye on developments in the neighboring Alpine country and report on them.

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