A legalization of online gambling has been wished by many gambling providers for years. With a few exceptions, online casinos can offer their range of products in all countries, provided they adhere to sometimes strict regulations. However, this positive innovation also has some disadvantages, as there are now more and more court rulings based on which past losses must be reimbursed. The latest ruling comes from the regional court in Paderborn.
Ladbrokes must pay 115,000 euros
To understand the current court rulings, the previous laws must be taken into account. If online casinos were only recently classified as legal, as is the case via the German State Treaty on Gambling, all online gambling providers have acted illegally up to this point. However, the gambling providers concerned were of a different opinion, as they held a license from a European country, for example, Malta. Thus, they thought that the freedom to provide services, which applies in the EU, applies and that they had legally presented their online offers.
In addition, Germany filed several criminal charges against various providers but was unsuccessful. This again confirmed the gambling providers so that they were right of the opinion that they were acting legally. But basically, the law of the country in which the online casinos are presented always applies. For this reason, no online casinos would have been allowed to be present on the Internet until the first of July 2021. The only exception is the state of Schleswig-Holstein, which issued some licenses. Play safe and read our Jungleraja casino review.
This legislation has now led to Ladbrokes being sued for reimbursement of gambling losses. The current court ruling dates back to September 2021 and was set by the regional court in Paderborn.
Losses originate from the years 2018 and 2019
The current case involves Ladbrokes, an online offering from LC International Ltd. This group is based in Gibraltar and has presented its offer in Germany due to the reasoning explained above. A woman addicted to gambling resorted to this offer, who gambled away 115,000 euros in 2018 and 2019. Together with her lawyer, the woman sued Ladbrokes and got it right. The reasoning of the court is as follows:
After LC International Ltd. has no license for Germany, all contracts concluded through the online casino are void. The further explanation of the court lies in the focus of the player's security. After all, Germany would have deliberately not allowed online casinos until this year to protect people addicted to gambling. Ladbrokes would have also disregarded this. For this reason, the gambling provider must reimburse the loss for 115,000 euros.
Many players will probably use this verdict as a reference verdict and apply for a refund of the lost stakes.
Austria ruled like Germany
Germany is not the only country to issue such rulings. In Austria, too, there was a ruling by the highest court just a few months ago, based on which a provider from a European country outside Germany was also ordered to repay the losses. The law firm that won this case already has another 2,000 cases demanding reimbursement of their losses.
The providers of online casinos are partly reacting to this by forming large reserves. These are to be used to settle the refunds if further players win in court. However, this approach leads to a worse track record and even the withdrawal of the offer from certain countries. This is exactly why bet-at-home already withdrew from Austria, where the situation is more difficult: Monopoly status still applies in Austria, which is why only Casinos Austria can offer gambling fans an online service. This includes both roulette and slots.
Further consequences for gambling providers
The wave of lawsuits and the high success rate lead to massive financial problems for some gambling providers. None of the affected providers will ever have expected to have to reimburse players' losses. Apart from this, some countries are taking further measures: In Norway, two providers are not allowed to apply for a license, even though online casinos were licensed here for the first time as well. This action is to be seen as a disciplinary penalty since only those are not allowed to apply for a license who offered their casinos without a license so far.
Even with this penalty, the gambling providers record enormous losses in sales. If they had to reimburse losses in addition, it is impossible to estimate how much these extraordinary expenses would become a real problem. Only the future will tell. But the limits on monthly operations that exist in Germany also lead to a reduction in revenues. To what extent the Groups will compensate for this, only the future will also tell.