As tagesschau.de recently reported, Malta is planning a change in the law that will provide a kind of protective shield for the local gambling industry. As a result, Maltese courts would no longer enforce judgments from abroad relating to the recovery of losses in online casinos and/or sports betting providers if the addresses concerned hold a license in the country.
Lawsuits should be intercepted
The change in the law introduced by Economics Minister Silvio Schembri is apparently intended to stop a wave of lawsuits against the country’s gambling companies that have been going on for months. It is not uncommon for six-digit amounts to be requested in the proceedings – and with regular success. According to the article in the Tagesschau, the claims are primarily made by German and Austrian players.
In fact, more and more law firms are focusing on this business area. A lawyer interviewed by the Tagesschau speaks of more than 5,000 ongoing proceedings. The planned change in the law in Malta is likely to have far-reaching consequences for the many open and also for future judgments.
Those in charge of the law firms are anything but enthusiastic. Many voices warn of violations of EU law. Two lawyers from Germany and Austria have even lodged a complaint with the EU Commission.
Numerous demands have their origin in the time before the GlüStV 2021
Online gambling has long been accessible in Germany, but was largely banned until July 1, 2021. With the entry into force of the new State Treaty on Gambling (GlüStV) – and in fact a few months before that – online casinos or sports betting providers can apply for a Germany-wide license and provide their offers completely legally if the applicable regulations are observed.
Many of the now licensed companies were already active in this country. In many cases they were working under a permit in Malta at the time. Their legal argument was: The Maltese gambling license would entitle them to offer their services in Germany despite the ban. There were hardly any consequences for either the gambling companies or the players.
To this day: For several years now, lawyers have been suing more and more for clients who lost a lot of money before the GlüStV and are claiming back the losses. The legal basis is the fact that the casino or sports betting offers were illegal before 2021. This means that the contracts between the players and the gambling companies would not be valid.
Incidentally, the same applies to companies that continue to offer MGA Casinos. These addresses are also often sued for the repayment of losses.
The planned change in the law is causing quite a stir among player protectors and specialized lawyers. The federal government is largely unaffected. According to the Tagesschau, responsibility would be mutually shifted from one to the other in different places. After all, the joint gaming authority of the countries (GGL) took note of the events in Malta. It is not yet clear whether and how they will react.