Leo Wallner dead
July 31, 2015
Leo Wallner, who was the head of Casinos Austria from 1968 to 2007, died on Wednesday at the age of 79 years in Vienna after a long decease. About four decades Leo Wallner embossed the Austrian gaming business as Director General of Casinos Austria. In the sports world he was also active as the head of the Austrian Olympic Committee (ÖOC) as well as IOC member with a huge impact. Born on November 4, 1935 at the Lower Austrian Amstetten Wallner was appointed by the Austrian Chancellor Josef Klaus Chancellor at the age of 31 to create a new as well as respectable image of the Austrian casinos. Just two years later, in February 1968 he became Director General of Casinos Austria AG. In March 1977, he was appointed the Chairman of the Board of Casinos Austria (International) AG. In 1986 he also became the head of the Austrian Lotteries. During this time he transformed the company that was at that time shaken by scandals “gambling dens” to an international company with an excellent reputation.
He constantly expanded the range of casinos and lotteries. Lotto “6 out of 45” was introduced by him. He was regarded as a skilful networker and master of diplomacy, who always kept the composure. After nearly 40 years of being the front man of Casinos Austria, Wallner handed over the Group’s management to his preferred candidate Karl Stoss in 2007. Until his death he was seen as the “grey eminence” of the Austrian gambling. The until recently unthinkable proposed acquisition of Casinos Austria by the Novomatic, their arch-rivals, he no longer has to witness. He offered his mini share of 0.41% of the casino to the competitors of Novomatic, namely Peter Goldscheider, who aims in cooperation with two Czech billionaires for the part state-owned enterprise.
Leo Wallner received numerous awards, for example, in 1992 the Great Golden Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria. He spent his meager spare time reading, in the theater or with doing sports. He never went to the casino in his private time. His replacement, Stoss, praised him as a visionary and stressed that they would always keep an honoured memory of Wallner.