Verdict: Online casinos must reimburse players for losses

Verdict: Online casinos must reimburse players for losses

A Giessen court has ordered an online casino to reimburse a player for his losses. If the ruling sets a precedent, illegal gambling providers could face a wave of lawsuits.

online Gambling

Anyone who has gambled away money at online casinos could possibly get it back from the operators. As the "Tageschau" reports, the Giessen Regional Court has ruled in favor of a man from Hesse who had sued the operator of the online casino "" for reimbursement of his losses. Accordingly, the gambling provider of the Entain group of companies, which is known in this country primarily for the betting provider Bwin, must fully reimburse the loss amount of around 12,000 euros.

The Player's lawyer speaks of a "milestone"

The court ruled that the provider had no license in Germany for its offer. Even the Maltese license of the provider, as in, does not change anything in view of European law. Accordingly, the contract for participation in gambling was void. "The plaintiff has made his gambling bets with the defendant without legal reason," the judges said.

The gambler from Hesse, who stated in court that he was addicted to gambling, had primarily played roulette at the online casino in 2017. His lawyer Patrick Redell told "NDR" that the judges' decision was a "milestone". Nationwide, it was the first judgment after an oral hearing in which all open legal questions had been discussed, he said.

A wave of lawsuits looms

For operators of online Casinos, the decision could have far-reaching consequences. In recent years, the industry has repeatedly emphasized that German gambling law violates the freedom to provide services in the European Union. But the court did not allow this argumentation. According to the court, the ban on online gambling in force in Germany "has not been invalidated or declared null and void by decisions of the administrative courts, the Federal Constitutional Court, or the ECJ."

Should other courts make similar decisions and the ruling from Giessen also stand up before the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court, which would have to confirm the decision in the event of a possible appeal, a wave of lawsuits could roll in on the operators of online casinos. Turnover in the billions, which generated online casinos without a license in recent years, would all be actionable.

online Gambling

The new state treaty comes into force in July

So far, the Giessen ruling is not legally binding. Etain's lawyers still have until the beginning of April to appeal. As a spokesman for Entain told the "NDR" and the "Süddeutsche Zeitung", they do not want to comment on civil proceedings with "one of our customers", reported However, the current offerings of Bwin in Germany would "meet the requirements of the criteria adopted by the federal states until the new State Gambling Treaty comes into force in July this year," the spokesman said.