Jackpot! Austrian gambling addict to get back $720,000 he squandered

Jackpot! Austrian gambling addict to get back $720,000 he squandered

VIENNA - A Vienna gambler will get back almost 440,000 euros (S$718,351) that he squandered on slot machines, after a local court ruled that he suffered from an addiction, his lawyer said Thursday.

The man claimed he was not responsible for some of the 800,000 euros he spent on slot machines between 2006 and 2010.

Backed by a psychiatric evaluation, the court agreed that his gambling "contracts" for the period should be annulled.

"Unlike in casinos, it's not possible in Vienna to ban somebody from a slot machine room. And you find these machines in many places, including petrol stations," the gambler's lawyer Christoph Naske told AFP.

Gaming group Novomatic, which operates the slot machines in question, has appealed the ruling, the daily Kronen Zeitung said.

Vienna decided in November to ban slot machines from any locations except casinos from January 1, saying they targeted mostly poorer neighbourhoods.

The Austrian capital has an estimated 2,600 one-armed bandits.

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