1. Provider sues player
For the first time, a provider has now sued a player - rather than the other way around. Hambach & Hambach had filed a court claim against a player in 2021 on behalf of a client requesting a court determination that the operator is not obligated to compensate the player for his gaming losses. After the Regional Court had made it clear at the hearing on 3 May 2022 that the player could not claim back his gambling losses, it decided in favour of the provider on the same day.
Players must now expect to be sued by online gambling providers if they make unjustified claims for reimbursement, which entails considerable legal costs for the players.
2. Dozens of judgements in favour of the providers
Hambach & Hambach alone has already won 14 judgements in favour of online gambling providers, including the first judgement of the Munich I Regional Court (https://www.timelaw.de/de/2021/04/28/isa-guide...). In all these cases, claims by players for reimbursement of their losses were rejected by the German courts. Despite hundreds of lawsuits filed by players, not a single final judgement has been issued against clients of the law firm so far.
3. Only appeal judgement in favour of the providers
Hambach & Hambach has also won the first and still only legally binding appeal judgement on such player claims in Germany. The Regional Court of Bonn confirmed in the second instance a final judgment of the District Court of Euskirchen of 31 May 2021, which had previously also dismissed the player's claim (https://www.timelaw.de/de/2021/12/03/erstes-berufungsurteil...).
Recently, two higher regional courts gave non-binding notice to the gambling providers in pending appeal proceedings, stating that these courts intended to reject the providers’ appeals. However, it is clear from the respective reasons given by the courts that the providers in question had obviously presented insufficient and contradictory arguments in their defence. Therefore, conclusions for other cases cannot be drawn from these decisions, as they are specific to the relevant cases.
4. No Jurisdiction of German Courts in the Case of Assignment of player claims
Most recently, Hambach & Hambach obtained the first suspension order in Germany relating to a court claim based on assigned rights before the Regional Court of Saarbrücken. A Swiss company has bought hundreds or even thousands of alleged player claims for reimbursement of gambling losses and now asserts these claims in its own name in court against the gambling providers. The first court has now followed Hambach & Hambach's reasoning and suspended the proceedings until the ECJ has ruled on the jurisdiction of German courts in such a constellation in a similar case against a payment service provider.
Overall, the tide seems to be turning more and more in favour of the industry, as other gambling providers not represented by the law firm Hambach & Hambach also jointly won dozens of further judgements in which claims by players were dismissed. These current developments show that German courts are setting clear limits to the fantasies of “Player-Claim-Lawyers” to make "gambling without risk" possible.