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Red Rhino fails in legal complaint over GGL ruling

| By Robert Fletcher
Red Rhino has failed in a legal complaint against a ruling by German regulator Gemeinsame Glücksspielbehörde der Länder (GGL) to issue it with a fine for operating illegally in the country.
Kindred Sweden penalty

Malta-based Red Rhino was last month fined €50,000 (£43,687/$53,006) for offering online gambling in Germany without a licence.

Red Rhino had withdrawn its German-facing Platincasino.de site but users could still gamble on Platincasino.com. The operator does not hold a licence in Germany, nor does it appear on the GGL’s white list of approved brands.

GGL said that as Red Rhino does not have approval to operate, it is in breach of national law. This led to the issuance of the fine.

GGL also issued a “high penalty payment” to the payment service provider that acted in connection with Red Rhino. Details of this, including the identity of the payment specialist, were not disclosed.

At the time, announcing its decision, GGL said the ruling should signal it will continue to take action against illegal activities. The regulator also said penalty payments can be repeated or increased until unlicensed activities cease.

Red Rhino challenge focuses on payment provider

In the weeks following the ruling, Red Rhino chose to pursue legal action. This focused on its use of the unnamed payment provider, with Red Rhino complaining against the decision to block its use of the provider.

In its challenge, Red Rhino requested legal protection over the matter. However, the Higher Administrative Court of Sachsen-Anhalt rejected this complaint. The court ruled that as Red Rhino does not hold a licence to operate in Germany, this would not be applicable.

This, it says, is in line with Germany’s Glücksspielstaatsvertrags. This grants the GGL power to block payment services linked with unlicensed operators and websites (Section 2, Paragraph 1).

The court did uphold the decision not to name the payment provider as it could have an impact on it dealing with licensed operators. 

Concluding the case, the court ruled that the decision, confirmed at the end of last week, is legally binding.

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