German gaming companies challenge colocation rules

Posted: September 14, 2022, 12:33 p.m.

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

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

View of the village of Hornberg in the Schwarzwald mountains - Germany
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 colocation laws. (Image: Shutterstock)

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

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

German gambling laws fail to impress

The complaint argues that German courts have failed to deal effectively with the gambling industry. Specifically, the wording of 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 national regime.

Baden-Württemberg’s state-level gaming law, which it introduced a decade ago, stipulates that all gaming facilities must be located at least 500 meters (1,640 feet) away from each other. the other. This distance is measured from the front door of one business to the front door of another. The law lumps all areas of gambling into one category, despite the fact that sports betting and casino games only share a loose connection.

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

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

Thuringia, for example, is holding its own fair where so far only online slots are available.

Sports betting can give up

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

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

There are also lawsuits against operators for other reasons. If a gambling platform did not have a license to operate in the country, a player could potentially take legal action to recover all the money they 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 was unlicensed at the time the bettor used the service, and is therefore responsible for all money spent.

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

The judge ruled that the only qualification for the decision was that the bookmaker did not have a license. As a result, any bettor who can prove their gambling expenditure on an unlicensed platform is entitled to a refund.

James R. Rhodes