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Germany – Betting operator sees appeal kicked out for betting exchange in Wetzlar

By - 4 April 2022

The 4th Chamber of the Administrative Court of Giessen has rejected an application against the Lahn-Dill-Kreis for provisional (further) toleration of a betting exchange operated in Wetzlar without the necessary permission.

One of the applicants has a permit to organize sports betting in accordance with the new State Treaty on Gambling, which came into force in July 2021. On the basis of the new State Treaty on Gambling, however, the mediation of these sports bets also requires permission, which was not available here.

By decision of December 2021, the Land of Hesse had refused to grant it, against which an action is pending before the Administrative Court of Giessen. In January 2022, the Lahn-Dill-Kreis informed the operator of the betting exchange that regulatory and criminal measures were to be expected at any time because of the illegal operation and that a toleration of the betting exchange was rejected solely because of the ongoing legal proceedings. With their application for interim relief lodged with the court, the applicants wanted the Lahn-Dill-Kreis to tolerate the mediation of sports betting in the betting agency until the conclusion of the legal proceedings for authorisation.

The Administrative Court of Giessen did not comply with this request. According to the decision of the court, an intervention of the Lahn-Dill-Kreis with regard to the unlawful operation of the betting exchange is in principle justified as long as a corresponding permit has not been granted. Only the granting of the licence, not an application for that purpose or the filing of an action for the granting of the licence, entitles the applicants to operate the betting exchange in question and thus precludes the defendant from intervening.

A right to tolerate a formally illegal game of chance, i.e. gambling operated without the necessary authorisation, can only exist if the conditions for granting the licence itself are fulfilled and this is obvious to the authority, that is to say, without further examination. This is not to be assumed.

The decision (decision of 18 March 2022, Az.: 4 L 207/22.GI) is not yet final. The parties may lodge an appeal within two weeks of notification, which will be decided by the Hessian Administrative Court in Kassel.

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