I’ve lived in Vienna long enough to know when a situation will allow a certain, shall we say, bending of the rules. The famous solution titled “des krieg ma schon hin…” (we’ll figure this out). And there are rules here for almost everything, which can make things difficult, if not impossible. It’s all part of a deep-seated, consensus-loving culture
that grew out of a combination of geographic and historic middle-mandom.
Consensus… but not conformity. Here, success means conforming to be a rebel. Civilization is demonstrated by tossing waste into trashcans with clever puns written on them or by closing shops on Sundays. Rebellion is then heading off to picknick in one the city’s countless parks or sipping a Spritzer in a Schanigarten on a Sunday, because you, well, forgot to shop the day before.
The rules create the setting. After that, living well is the best revenge.
So while everyone has to play the cards they’re dealt, I think we can all agree that in Austria, we have been dealt a lucky hand. Here we have the space and freedom to make pleasure and leisure time one of our main activities. Games are not just how we distract ourselves from the latest personal setback or political outrage, we play games when we’re happy, when we want to connect and when we want to challenge ourselves.
Whether we play for sport, community, competition or relaxation, games have been a fundamental human pastime in every culture on every continent throughout history. That’s why we dedicated the summer issue of Metropole not only to the art of games, but also the business of gambling and how gamification is changing how we live and work.
Austria is one of a short list of countries (most of them in Europe) that don’t tax gambler’s winnings. This is just one indicator that the gambling industry is an important economic motor. We took a closer look in our cover story (34) to see where the money flows and who benefits from control in the sector.
The gambling giant Novomatic’s subsidiary Admiral Casinos & Entertainment AG is the country’s biggest provider of sport betting and slot machines. We met with its CEO, Monika Racek to find out how the business is changing and how gambling addiction affects its customers (28).
To understand the various sides of the world of games, in our profiles (42) we speak to one of Austria’s leading e-sports players, an economics professor, the managing director of Austria’s leading board game manufacturer, Piatnik and one of the therapists helping those with gambling addiction.
In our business story (46), we investigate the comeback of board games and in our special report (64) we take on the concept of gamification and how it’s changing society. We made a local guide of places to get your game on in Vienna (70) and even look at the local role-playing and cosplay scene (88). While the list of sports the Viennese love is endless, we chose to look at one of the imports that is thriving in Austria: American Football, more specifically the Vienna Vikings (122).
Since the world doesn’t wait for us to finish playing, we cover the political upheaval caused by what is being called Ibiza Gate (15, 25) and you can find more up-to-date news coverage on our website. We also take a deep dive into the never-ending chess game that is Brexit (56) and how Twitter is changing the way journalists and their audiences interact by cutting out traditional media as the middle man (52).
This summer, there are countless Schanigärten outside waiting for you (128-131) with our picks of new restaurants and old favorites. We’ve put together some laid-back looks for you (100) to soak up some summer vibes at the waterfront, whether you’re sipping wine at the Neusiedlersee (132) or cruising down the Danube (134).
So, what are you waiting for? Ante up and, as always, don’t be a stranger.