Banks don’t need to replace online gambling
Published by Giselle
July 12, 2019 10:58 am
Still, the ghosts divide in online gambling. On the one hand, there is the pleasure of gambling, which has been tolerated by politicians and thus by the German state for many years.
On the other hand, there is currently the law which simply and poignantly prohibits at least parts of gambling on the Internet. Now a decision of the regional court Berlin is present. This decision can have effects on the whole industry. But are the banks here acquitted of their alleged obligation to pay compensation?
This would create a comfortable situation for the players themselves. If the providers are obliged to pay out winnings, but the user can get the bank to repay the deposit in the event of a loss, there is no real risk. So it is no wonder that lawyers advertise with headlines like “How to get your money back”. We would like to take a look at the decisions of the district courts that recovery would make sense. Further, we look to the current judgement from Berlin, which denies the carte blanche on online gambling to players again.
Financial institutions put to the test: No payment for online gambling?
Usually, the state would certainly like to be able to intervene with the providers. But they usually operate under the name of Malta. It’s hard to get a hold of them directly. To get the bets paid in back from the gambling providers, you would have to contact the relevant regulatory authority. The chances of success are unless there was a gross mistake on the part of the service provider, rather low. It seems simpler to take the banks into a kind of repayment obligation. What at first sounds crazy, after all the payments were made voluntarily, has already been successful several times in the recent past. First of all, we, therefore, look at the decision made by the Munich court in 2018.
The Munich Local Court has set the ball rolling here. There was a payment claim against a player. He did not want to pay his gambling debts, which were on a credit card. He was awarded the right. Not only the organisation of internet gambling is prohibited, but also participation.
The banks and credit card companies are involved. They organise the payment. This, in turn, is provided with a unique code which sorts the payment process into the category “gambling”. This would have enabled the financial institutions to recognise that they did not have to carry out such a transaction. In February 2019, the district court in Leverkusen followed suit. Once again, the credit card debt in connection with online gambling did not have to be paid.
Review of the Paradise Papers: Not only credit card companies, but also banks and other payment methods are active in online gambling transfers. This has now become public. Since then, all payment service providers appear to be vulnerable.
Berlin Local Court bans replacement payments for online gambling!
Let’s now take a concrete example from Berlin. Here a player had charged his credit card to generate credit for online casino and poker games. The payments were made to several service providers in the EU. The credit card companies themselves or the e-wallet Skrill were responsible for the transactions. The player positioned himself within the meaning of § 134 BGB (German Civil Code).
The legal prohibition is regulated in this case against the limits of the State Treaty on Gambling and the prohibition of illegal gambling. The sticking point, however, is that certain games of chance are permitted in Germany. And the reasoning given to banks and credit card companies is based on the fact that they can recognise payments to gambling companies through an assigned code.
What the financial institutions are unable to do, however, is to distinguish between permitted and unauthorised payments based on the code. And the court ruled that banks are not obliged to check providers’ licences. The court has attributed this responsibility to the plaintiff himself. In the end, the plaintiff gave up the appeal. The opinion of the local court is, therefore, final. It remains to be noted that the decisions of the district courts to hold the banks accountable do not stand before higher courts.
Play without loss risk: Even with the picture newspaper, lawyers recruit with similar headlines. However, the corresponding lawsuits in the second instance have so far failed.
Is it worth claiming lost bets through a lawyer?
On the one hand, many law firms work on a commission basis. They would, therefore, be involved in the payment of any reclaims. Here the risk is low. Nevertheless, at the moment, it looks as if the corresponding claims against the financial institutions would be in vain. It merely fails because the banks cannot recognise whether the payment is a permitted or illegal gamble. In any case, the action taken against the financial institutions must be questioned critically because the state cannot possibly want the banks to be exposed to a wave of lawsuits. This is particularly true as the Gaming Act is about to be revised anyway.
Clarity is to prevail in the industry from the middle of 2024. So far, however, it has not become clear whether the majority of ministers are now in favour of opening up the market. Particularly the Casino plays, like play automats, Roulette and Blackjack, stand after current law situation in the offside.