10/12/2012 : BET-AT-HOME ORDERED TO REFUND PLAYER
No Austrian licence therefore player contract illegal
An Austrian High Court has ordered Malta-licenced Bet-At-Home to repay a gambler who lost Euro 950 000 playing online roulette.
The case initiated by a problem gambler who stole from his employer to fund his habit was initially dismissed by the Austrian court of first instance, going before the High Court on appeal.
The ruling surrounds the contentious issue of licence validity between European Union member states along with the legality of monopolies under EU law.
The player's legal counsel, Christian Horwath, called the decision "groundbreaking" and a confirmation for the gambling monopoly. "The Austrian law has been applied. This is essential and player protection is viewed positively,” he told Krone.at.
The Judge on handing down the ruling surmised: "Gambling offered without a proper Austrian concession will result in the contract between the plaintiff and online roulette provider being deemed illegal and ineffective. The plaintiff is entitled to a full refund of monies spent".
In a case put before the CJEU last year, Bet-At-Home founders Jochen Dickinger and Franz Ömer asserted that its Malta licence is valid in Austria but the CJEU found that without a unified regulatory system across the EU with respect to online gambling, EU member states were free to take measures that would legitimately protect their citizens.
The company confirmed it will appeal the ruling.