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German court rules in favour of operator in gambling losses lawsuit

| By Nosa Omoigui
Germany's Euskirchen District Court has decided that online gaming operators have no obligation to reimburse a player for their gaming losses if they played illegal casino games.

The player in question lost their money in 2020, and claimed they should be reimbursed after claiming that the range of games they wagered on were illegal – something the player only discovered after the fact.

However Euskirchen District Court, following the precedent set by Munich and Duisburg regional courts, dismissed the lawsuit. As the player willingly participated in the game, they made themselves liable to prosecution, the court said.

In addition, the court noted the player received an opportunity to win.

A statement from Hambach and Hambach – the law firm representing the operator – said:  “Due to the terms and conditions of the provider, the plaintiff knew that he should have found out about the legal situation. 

“In addition, the plaintiff had made his stake voluntarily and in return received a chance to win from the provider. This also means that there is no damage in the legal sense, according to the court.”

Online casino is set to become legal throughout Germany after the Glücksspielneuregulierungstaatsverag (GlüNeuRStV) was approved by all 16 federal states.

Coming into effect from 1 July, the GlüNeuRStV treaty will diversify Germany’s igaming offerings to include online casino games as well as online betting.

However, its implementation could be delayed after industry body Deutsche Sportwettenverband (DSWV) and the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) both filed EU state aid complaints related to the proposed tax rates for the vertical. Under a Bundesrat proposal, online slots and poker would be taxed at 5.3% of turnover.

Currently, operators may offer online gambling in Germany through a transitional regime, where online casino is permitted but only under the terms of the new treaty. These terms include restricting slots to a €1 stake limit per spin, with an average spin speed of five seconds. Operators such as LeoVegas and Bet-at-Home said these restrictions have already hit revenue in Q1.

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