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Lottery brokerage/gambling/betting on the Internet without permission?

The Regional Court of Koblenz has issued a ruling on the mediation of lottery and similar services in Germany. If such mediation is not authorised by a German authority, the provider cannot rely on the EU’s freedom to provide services. The court thus followed a rather new case law of the Federal Administrative Court, because until now the legal view was that services that are legally registered in other EU countries may also offer these services in Germany, focusing on the freedom to provide services under the EC Treaty. Only LG Koblenz rejected this view; according to the General Court, the defendant’s offer constitutes an unlawful gamble within the meaning of German gambling law. With this, it is probably only clear that gambling, which is not registered and registered in Germany (for example in Schleswig-Holstein) is likely to have a massive problem in the future. The courts, including the ECJ, recognise that the freedom to provide services can be restricted if high-level public welfare objectives, in particular the protection of minors and the fight against gambling addiction and accompanying crime, so require.

From a purely logical point of view, this case-law naturally concerns not only lottery agents from Gibraltar and the like, but all the services provided for in Paragraph 4(4) of the 4 GlüStV could be subsumed and previously thought that they could “hide” in Malta, Gibraltar or Cyprus.

The Regional Court of Koblenz also upheld claims for information and damages against the defendant, which is why further actions against foreign competitors by suppliers registered in Germany will be possible in the future.

This is likely to mainly affect casinos that are entirely based on luck. On the other hand, skill games and the like are probably not affected. Controversial are still sports betting (and of course also bets on export results). It is a matter of dispute whether sports betting is gambling or whether it is skill. However, the trend is more likely to be gambling, similar to semi-professional poker, which is why providers of sports betting, esports betting, skin-gambling and the like could also be affected.

For providers of these services I am available for advice. It will have to examine its own business model, shareholder structure and approvals. Providers could otherwise quickly be targeted by those who have met the tougher requirements of authorisation in Germany, are called upon by means of an injunction and are compensated by compensation in the form of the so-called infringed profit massively.

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel is a lawyer and entrepreneur specializing in copyright law, competition law and IT/IP law, with a focus on games, esports, media and blockchain.


03322 5078053