Verdicts: Online Casinos Illegal: Players Get Money Back

Two judgments by higher regional courts strengthen the position of consumers who have made losses in internet casinos.

Verdicts: Online Casinos Illegal: Players Get Money Back

Two judgments by higher regional courts strengthen the position of consumers who have made losses in internet casinos. Since this form of gambling is illegal, they can reclaim the money. This is how those affected act.

More and more online casino customers are taking their losses back to court. Jurisdiction in Germany has now ruled at the second instance level (Higher Regional Court, OLG) that Internet gambling is or was illegal in Germany. The result: Players who lost money with blackjack, poker, roulette or slot machines on the Internet get their money back.

This is shown by two recent judgments by courts of appeal: The Cologne Higher Regional Court (Az.: 19 U 51/22) awarded a consumer reimbursement of his stakes of more than 58,000 euros. Reason: The deal was void and ineffective because gambling on the Internet was an event that was banned in Germany (with the exception of Schleswig-Holstein).

The OLG Dresden (Az. 10 U 736/22) also sentenced a gambling provider to repay 19,250 euros plus interest to a customer. The court expressly states that it is Germany's right to restrict or ban internet casinos, even if they are licensed in another member state of the European Union. Most gambling providers argue that such a ban is contrary to Union law.

Since mid-2021, German legislators have made it possible to license and thus legalize internet casinos. But so far only a small number of providers have made use of this. The entire list of previously approved operators can be found here. The license is based on strict consumer protection guidelines, for example the amount of stakes is severely limited. This makes such an offer less lucrative for casino operators.

That is why even today the majority of the gambling websites offered in Germany only operate with a so-called "European license" and thus in a legal gray area. However, these licenses, often issued in Malta or Cyprus, are not sufficient for legal operation in Germany, as recent court decisions show.

As a consequence, players can recoup their losses from the past ten years. Our experience shows that it is not enough for the customer to write to the casino, citing the current verdicts, and demanding repayment. In most cases, a lawsuit is necessary. The associated costs are not insignificant. In practice, we therefore work together with a litigation financier. The latter assumes the costs of the lawyer and the court and in return receives a percentage of the damages paid by the casino. The injured parties therefore have no cost risk. This procedure is usually possible for losses of 10,000 euros or more.

Another prerequisite for a promising approach is that the gambling providers are established in the EU. Most online casinos are based in Malta or Cyprus. Legal enforcement usually works there. The assertion of claims against providers such as 777 Casino, 888 Casino, Betfair, Betway, BWin, CasinoClub, Casumo, Caxino, ComeOn, EuroCasino, Gammix, Interwetten, Jackpotcity, Karamba, Lapalingo, LeoVegas, MagicRed, Mr Green, NetBet is particularly promising , PartyCasino, Partypoker, Platincasino, Pokerstars, Rizk, Sunmaker / Sunnyplayer, Tipico, Vera

About the author: Roland Klaus is the founder of the revocation interest group, which deals with consumer protection issues. He became known as a Frankfurt stock exchange reporter for n-tv, N24 and the US financial broadcaster CNBC.

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