With just her second ever Lottoland bet, a 36-year-old cleaner from Berlin has won the £79m top prize on the June 1, 2018 EuroJackpot. However, according to German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung, the winner might be rejoicing a little prematurely, since the lotto website is not registered in Germany. The newspaper claims that this may be seen as a ‘predicate offence in money laundering’ by the public prosecutor’s office.
More than 17m people play lotto every week in Germany, part of the legal monopoly with revenues channelled into socially responsible activities in Germany. However, the 36 year-old from Berlin did not fill out a lotto form, but played on the website Lottoland, founded by the German David von Rosen in 2013 and registered in Gibraltar.
Germany’s state lottery monopolies maintain their stance that secondary lottery operators, such as Lottoland, are operating illegally in Germany. Such a view is contrary to recent court judgements in Germany that have declared that land-based lottery monopolies, in all 16 of the country’s states, are in breach of EU’s principle of ‘freedom to provide services’ and the ‘constitutionally guaranteed freedom of choice.’ While it’s true that participating in an illegal lotto site represents a criminal offence in Germany, to date the public prosecutor’s office has yet to actively prosecute such a case. Süddeutsche Zeitung claims, however, that as soon as Lottoland transfers the €79m to a German account, the bank has to inform the public prosecutor’s office, at which point Christina could be committing a criminal offence.
How the public prosecutor acts in this matter could determine the future of the state-held lottery monopolies in Germany. The potential ensuing court battle could spiral all the way to the European Court of Justice, despite the fact that the ECJ has made it clear that it expects individual EU states to address gambling related matters within their own jurisdictions and does not want to table court time to address such cases.
EuroJackpot is Europe’s second most popular lottery draw and takes place every Friday night in Helsinki. Comprised of a maximum jackpot of £79m, participants choose five numbers from 1-50 and two further numbers from 1-10. Participants are able to bet on the outcome of the Eurojackpot draw with Lottoland UK.
Lottoland CEO Nigel Birrell said: “We really are chuffed to bits for Christina! It couldn’t have happened to a nicer lady. It’s also a huge landmark for Lottoland; not only is £79m our record payout, but it’s also the world’s largest online gaming win – ever. More and more people from around the world are waking up to the fact that they can bet on the world’s biggest jackpots right here at Lottoland. We look forward to breaking more records in the future.”