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Austria – Foreign providers of online games must compensate for gambling losses

By - 31 August 2021

Providers of online games of chance who do not have a license under the Austrian Gaming Act are conducting their activities in Austria against the law. The gambling contracts they have concluded with Austrian players are ineffective and the player is entitled to a reimbursement of his stake.

The defendant offers online gambling in Austria. It is based in Gibraltar and also relies on a license granted to it in Austria.

The plaintiff suffered losses in the games offered by the defendant, which he asked the defendant to replace. He accuses her of not having a license under the Austrian Gaming Act and of exercising her activity in Austria unlawfully.

The defendant argues that the Austrian gaming monopoly violates Union law and should not be applied. Compensation for the gambling losses suffered is therefore excluded. Both lower courts upheld the claim.

The Supreme Court upheld these decisions. The fact that Austrian gaming law does not violate European law has recently been pronounced by both the Constitutional Court and the Administrative Court. The Supreme Court already endorsed these decisions. In a recent decision, the Court of Justice of the European Union also did not assume that the Austrian gaming monopoly was in breach of Union law. Since the defendant gambling provider did not succeed in invalidating this case law with new arguments, it has to compensate for the gambling losses suffered by the plaintiff.

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