German court orders operator to refund loss due to unlicensed gaming

German players have brought several cases against operators in bids to recover gambling losses.
German players have brought several cases against operators in bids to recover gambling losses.

A regional court has found in favour of a player who lost €25,375 while gambling with an unlicensed operator.

Germany.- Legal cases have been brought by several customers in Germany who lost money with gaming operators before the legalisation of online gaming last year.

Now for the first time, a regional court (the second highest level of court) in Köln, Nordrhein-Westfalen, has found in favour of the player in one of the cases, ordering an operator to refund €25,375 in losses.

The player brought the case against an unnamed Gibraltar-based online casino operator whose products he used between October 2017 and April 2020. At that time, online casino gaming was only permitted in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, but the operator’s games were available in German to all German residents.

The court ruled that the operator had breached section 4, paragraph 4 of Germany’s State Treaty on Gambling at that time. As such, it said the operator had no legal grounds to take the player’s money.

The player’s lawyer István Cocron said: “The online games of chance should not have been offered in Germany. It was not until July 1, 2021 that the requirements for offering online gambling in Germany were relaxed.”

He said there were good chances that other players would be able to recover past losses. However, until now other courts have rejected such claims from players, forming the opinion that the players themselves had also broken the law and should have known that online gaming was not legal.

Meanwhile, the executive of the German state of Saxony-Anhalt has launched the website for the country’s new federal regulator, Gemeinsamen Glücksspielbehörde der Länder (GGL – The German Federal States’ Joint Gambling Authority).

The GGL says that 110 staff will be required by the agency. It intends to be fully operational on January 12023.

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