Now, it seems that case law is again turning to the effect that German courts are on the side of online gamblers. After such judgments were still the order of the day a few years ago(see also this judgment), there was recently an impressive decision by the Regional Court of Frankfurt am Main, which also offers important points for advice on whether and how GTC should be integrated. Now there is also a first decision of a higher regional court. A gambler from Braunschweig lost over 40,000 euros in casino gambling in 2018 and 2019 and now wanted to recover these losses. In response to the player’s complaint, the Regional Court of Braunschweig sentenced the Maltese provider and has now been confirmed in this respect by the Higher Regional Court of Braunschweig, which has rejected the provider’s appeal.
However, the reasoning differs from that of the Regional Court of Frankfurt and essentially focuses on the fact that a valid contract exists due to the inadmissibility of gambling. The court, via explanations on the place of jurisdiction (which was not transferred to Malta via the GTC) and various explanations on the condictional claim relevant here, also comes to the question of the extent to which the decision of the BGH of 13.09.2022 – XI ZR 515/21 – on a repayment claim against a payment service provider is applicable here.
As a result, the court considered the repayment claim to be justified, as the offering of online gambling was prohibited in Lower Saxony according to the legal situation at the time. The mere reference in the advertising or on the homepage of the organizer that the game offer is only directed at residents of Schleswig-Holstein does not lead to a different assessment, as it does not necessarily mean that participation in the game is prohibited for participants from other federal states.
The court also problematized the question of knowledge of the ban, but concluded that the provider had not been able to prove that the plaintiff, who lives in Braunschweig, had otherwise gained knowledge of the ban. In this respect, the decisions from Frankfurt and Braunschweig are similar. The blanket reference to media reports was not sufficient to prove knowledge, since the plaintiff had not necessarily perceived them and did not have to perceive them.
It is likely to be important that the Higher Regional Court of Braunschweig has allowed an appeal to the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) because of the significance for numerous similar proceedings in Germany.