German Court to Rule on Reimbursing Gaming Losses

A German federal court is poised to set gambling law precedent. It will begin hearing a case where a plaintiff sued for the reimbursement of gambling losses the player accrued while playing an unlicensed gambling site.

German Court to Rule on Reimbursing Gaming Losses

The German Federal Court of Justice (BGH) will hold a hearing May 2 on a case to consider the reimbursement of player losses accrued while playing on a black-market site, CDC Gaming Reports wrote on April 9.

The complaint was originally thrown out last year by the Lower Court of Dresden (OLG Dresden). The defendant is an operator based in Austria but operating without a license in Germany during 2018, which the plaintiff claims renders the betting contract void and the gambling illegal.

The plaintiff is demanding that the defendant repay the losses of €11,984.89, plus interest.

Claus Hambach, a partner in Hambach & Hambach, told CDC: “The Federal Court of Justice, Germany’s highest Civil Court, has recently published an extensive note, outlining its preliminary view that a players could in principle be entitled to being refunded their losses from participating in sportsbook offers.”

Some fear and hope that this will set a precedent for what could be a large number of complaints.

Hambach added, “This could indeed be possible due to massive advertising and media reports. This reflects that financers seem to be ready to continue financing such claims now even for sports betting losses and not only casino losses.”

He continued, “The majority of operators are not based in Germany and they do not have assets in Germany that could factually be enforced.”

Not all European countries enforce such claims. Malta has adopted a law in 2023 that orders courts to refuse to recognize foreign judgments against casinos based on Malta and operating legally.

Germany opposes this law and says it violates the rules on settlements between members of the EU. The European Commission has promised to examine such laws, but has taken no action yet.

Hambach argues that it is not in Germany’s interest to reimburse losses from illegal sites since it will drive players toward the black market.