German court orders Betano to return sports bettors’ money

Posted: June 13, 2022, 5:31 a.m.

Last update: June 13, 2022, 11:01 a.m.

Sports betting operator Betano will have to return its money to a German bettor. The German District Court in Ludwigslust ordered the operator to reimburse it €4,380 (US$4,608) in player losses.

Betano struck a sponsorship deal with Portuguese football team Sporting Lisbon last year. The sports betting operator will reimburse the losses of a bettor in Germany following a court decision. (Picture: EGR Global)

The bettor lost €5,380 (US$5,638) on the Kaizen Gaming-owned sports betting site between February 20 and March 4 last year. However, when Germany updated their betting laws, they implemented a loss limit of €1,000 ($1,047). Therefore, user Betano has lost more than the limit allows.

Moreover, Istvan Cocron, the player’s lawyer, said the player was also registered under the OASIS self-exclusion scheme. As a result, the court in Ludwigslust, located just outside Hamburg in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, returned anything over the loss limit.

Lax Loss Limit Protocols

The loss limit was initially enforced at the trader level. However, the fourth German interstate treaty on gambling subsequently extended it. When the states signed the treaty last year, it included player spending from all regulated market operators.

Also, the fact that he signed up for OASIS played a big role in the court’s decision. The purpose of the standard is to protect banned players from financial loss. In particular, this also applies to the protection of gambling addicted players against themselves.

If a player plays after registering with OASIS, gaming contracts are null and void. The responsibility for ensuring that banned players cannot participate in their activity lies with the operator, according to the court.

International operator Allwyn bought a 36.75% stake in Betano from OPAP in April. The deal included 50 million euros ($52.3 million) upfront and undisclosed earnouts based on Betano’s performance over the next three years.

More punters can receive refunds

The court’s decision could have implications for other bettors in Germany, which could further impact the strength of the country’s legal betting industry. Cocron said at the hearing: “Both in online sports betting and in online gaming, for which there was a far-reaching ban in Germany until July 1, 2021, there is a good chance of recover bets that appear to have been lost”.

Time and time again Maltese online gambling providers reimburse German consumers for their losses. Indeed, according to the interstate treaty on games of chance, online games of chance of any kind are only legal if the provider of these services is in possession of a German license.

It is only since July 1, 2021 that casinos can legally present their platforms in Germany if they have a national license. This results in a clear legal situation.

Anyone who lost money with an online gambling provider before this deadline can certainly get it back. The same applies so far for the period after, because to date no foreign provider in Germany has acquired an effective license.

However, it is not that simple. Consumer protection lawyer Dr. Gerrit W. Hartung estimates that there are 30 to 50 online casino providers in Germany. Furthermore, he points out that the Higher Regional Court in Frankfurt has recently made it clear that a court will only refuse the claim for reimbursement if the players were aware of the illegality of online gambling.

Accordingly, players must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they did not know that online gambling was illegal. Anyone who can, however, could receive a refund for all of their online gambling activity.

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