The victim has now filed a lawsuit for damages against an internet gaming company. The accusation: You do not have a valid license.
The Lower Austrian had a good job, three wonderful children and was happily married. Suddenly he experienced what many dream of – winning the lottery, which earned him more than 1.5 million euros. However, he never thought of quitting and was happy to continue gambling, including at Casino Baden, until at some point it was said: rien ne va plus – nothing works anymore.
He was noticed in the casino because of his gambling addiction and was then summarily banned. To satisfy his addiction, the family man tried his luck on the internet. Nothing easier than that. He created a player account at an online casino and gave it the authority to directly debit the account to cover any losses.
1.458 million euros
Gambling on the Internet in the form of roulette , blackjack and video slot machines became his only purpose in life, he hung on the needle like a drug addict. The whole time he thought to himself: The really big win would have to come at some point. Within four years, the Lower Austrian gambled away a total of 1.485 million euros at a notorious online gaming provider.
„Shattered Pieces of His Existence“
„He gambled everything away. He was repeatedly tempted with credits and bonuses not to have winnings paid out, but to continue playing – even in the event of losses, „says lawyer Sven Thorstensen in an interview with KURIER. “In online casinos there is no limit on the amount of the stake. That’s why he’s standing in front of the shards of his existence today. The marriage fell apart, he lost his job and he’s in debt.“
„With credits and bonuses, my client was tempted not to pay out winnings but to continue playing – even if he lost. He gambled everything away,“ says lawyer Sven Thorstensen in an interview with KURIER . “The big problem is that online casinos don’t have a bet limit. Which is why today he is faced with a shambles of his existence. Unfortunately, his wife has separated from him, he has lost his job and is left with a large mountain of debt. „
Class action action
The plaintiff’s lawyer, Sven Thortensen, filed a lawsuit at the regional court in Wiener Neustadt on behalf of his client almost four weeks ago. He sued the online gaming company for damages in the amount of 1,485,278 euros. The litigation financier AdvoFin , which has already launched a class action lawsuit against other online casinos, is financing the Lower Austrian’s lawsuit.
30 million euros lost
In the meantime, more than 500 affected online gamers have joined the lawsuit, which is now about 30 million lost. The average loss of each gambler is 60,000 euros, in some cases even more.
The lawsuits have something in common: Casinos Austria is the only provider in Austria that has a state gaming license with its own online gaming platform win2day. Thus, the offering of internet games of chance in Austria is generally subject to a permit. „And since this online casino does not have an Austrian license, it is not allowed to offer any games of chance in Austria,“ the class action lawsuit claims.
Thus, the gambling contract concluded from the registration between the plaintiff and the gaming company is void and ineffective. „The stakes are therefore reclaimable,“ the lawsuit continues.
Industry association admits gray area
The head of the litigation financier Advofin, Gerhard Wuëst, reveals to the KURIER that 80 percent of all cases are attributable to the „big fish“ in the online gaming business: e.g. bwin, bet-at-home, Mr. Green , LeoVegas, 888 Casino. Likewise, five other lawsuits have already been filed.
In the specific case of the Lower Austrian lottery winner, lawyer Thorstensen is now waiting for the online company to respond to the lawsuit. Usually the providers rely on gaming licenses from Gibraltar, Malta or Ireland, as well as on the freedom to provide services in the EU.
The Austrian industry association „Austrian Association for Betting and Gaming“ is also aware of the problem: „Due to the lack of licenses and the dubious conformity with Union law, many providers are forced to move in the legal gray area on the Austrian market.“
1500 online casinos
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Der Willkommensbonus beim Amsterdam Casino 25 € No Deposit kann bis zu 500 Euro betragen, zuzüglich 100 Freispiele. Beim Konkurrenten 22bet sind es bis zu 300 Euro. Demzufolge gibt es offiziell 178 „österreichische Online-Casinos“. Wie in jeder Branche gibt es aber laut casino.at auch hier schwarze Schafe, welche „nicht vertrauenswürdig“ sind. Darunter befinden sich Firmen, die sich weigern, Gewinne auszuzahlen oder sogar Spieleinsätze beziehungsweise Einzahlungen einbehalten.
Daily losses of 400,000 euros
It is estimated that around 400,000 euros are wasted by online players in Austria every day, calculated for the year it is around 146 million. The majority of providers have settled in Malta, Gibraltar, Great Britain, Ireland or the Netherlands Antilles. Normally, the operators also have local licenses and are therefore legally based in the EU. Most providers are based in Malta, where an annual license fee of 25,000 euros is due. The annual gaming turnover in Malta is estimated at around 40 billion euros.