German gaming companies challenge location rules

Published on: September 14, 2022, 12:33 p.m.

Last update: September 14, 2022, 01:47.

Germany has introduced its updated gambling laws with the hope of helping the industry evolve. The result was constant complaints and lawsuits, and another legal battle between the operators and the country.

View of the village of Hornberg in the Schwarzwald mountains - Germany
The village of Hornberg in the Schwarzwald mountains – Baden Wurttemberg, Germany. The state’s Constitutional Court will hear a case from sports betting operators regarding operator co-location laws. (Image: Shutterstock)

Four gambling operators will present a case to the Constitutional Court of Baden-Wurttemberg in November. They will challenge a co-location ban that prevents sports betting facilities from sharing the same buildings with casinos or other gambling venues.

Germany’s fourth state treaty on gambling entered into force in July 2021. However, it did not completely replace the previous treaties. A section of the First State Treaty on Gambling prohibits sports betting and casino activities in the same building.

German gambling laws fail to impress

The complaint alleges that German courts have failed to effectively address the gambling industry. Specifically, the language in the first treaty does not protect operators with sports betting facilities in the same building as casino operations. The treaty and others that followed govern how German states can enact their own gambling laws while creating a nationwide regime.

Baden-Wurttemberg’s statewide gambling law, which it introduced a decade ago, requires all gambling facilities to be located at least 500 meters (1,640 feet) from each other on the other. This distance is measured from the front door of one business to the front door of another. The law groups all gambling sectors into one category, despite the fact that sports betting and casino gambling only have a loose connection.

This is the latest of several lawsuits facing Germany in the gambling industry. Sportsbooks in the state of Hesse launched a lawsuit there in May over the market’s restrictive nature. This battle involves a total of 33 online sports betting and gaming operators.

There is also frustration with the lack of progress in the online casino segment. It took a year for Germany to license only a small handful of operators. At the same time, their options are restricted because not all states have agreed to allow open markets.

Thuringia, for example, has its own show where, until now, only online slots are available.

Sports betting can be waived

Last June, a court in Ludwigslust told Betano that he must return the money to a bettor. Germany last year introduced a €1,000 ($999) loss limit with its new gambling laws. Despite the fact that this happened after the bettor lost his money, the sports betting platform was still liable.

As a result, Betano had to return €4,380 ($4,379) of the €5,380 ($5,379) the bettor lost. This set a precedent that could lead to further losses for operators under the same ruling.

There are also lawsuits against operators for other reasons. If a gaming platform did not have a license to operate in the country, a gambler could sue to recover all the money he lost. A recent court decision reinforces this position and could lead to problems.

Earlier this month, the Cologne Regional Court ordered an unidentified sports betting operator to return €93,000 ($92,953) to a user. The unidentified platform did not have a license at the time the bettor used the service and is therefore responsible for all money spent.

The person from North Rhine-Westphalia placed bets on the site from August 2017 to December 2019. The Gibraltar sports betting provider did not have a valid license to offer its services in the state during this period.

The judge ruled that the only qualification for the decision was that the bookmaker was unlicensed. As a result, any bettor who can prove their gambling expenses on an unlicensed platform is entitled to a refund.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *