Germany – Online casino operator ordered to reimburse player for losses

28 March 2022

(PRESS RELEASE) — In its judgment of 16 March 2022, the Regional Court of Cologne decided that an online casino must compensate a player for his loss of a total of around €25,000. “Online gambling should not have been offered in Germany. Thus, the operator of the online casino has violated the prohibition of the State Treaty on Gambling and therefore has no legal claim to the money,” explains lawyer István Cocron, CLLB rechtsanwälte, who won the judgment.

Until July 2021, a far-reaching ban on online gambling was in force in Germany. Nevertheless, they were offered and via German-language websites players residing in Germany were made easy to access the online casinos.

This was also the case in the case before the Regional Court of Cologne. Between October 2017 and April 2020, the plaintiff had participated in the online gambling games of the defendant operator of the online casino. The company is based in Gibraltar and did not have a valid license to offer online gambling in Germany. The plaintiff had lost a total of around 25,000 euros in the casino games and now demanded them back, as the defendant had violated the prohibition from the State Treaty on Gambling. “Due to this violation, the game contracts are ineffective and the defendant has obtained the stakes without a legal basis,” explains lawyer Cocron.

This was also the view of the Regional Court of Cologne. Paragraph 4(4) of the State Treaty on Gambling prohibited the organization and brokering of public games of chance on the Internet. The defendant infringed that prohibition and obtained the plaintiff’s money without any legal reason. Therefore, she had to fully compensate him for the losses of a total of 25,375 euros, the court ruled. The ban on online gambling serves, among other things.dem protection of minors and the fight against gambling addiction. Casino games and poker have an outstanding addictive potential, a high susceptibility to manipulation and the risk of money laundering. Therefore, the prohibition is justified and does not violate EU law, the court referred to the case-law of the ECJ and the Federal Administrative Court. Irrespective of this, the defendant did not have a license valid in Germany anyway, the Regional Court of Cologne further clarified.

“It was not until 1 July 2021 that the requirements for offering online gambling in Germany were relaxed. However, these changes do not apply retroactively and a license valid in Germany is absolutely necessary for the offer of gambling on the Internet. Therefore, in many cases, there is still a good chance of reclaiming losses from the online casino,” said attorney Cocron.