German Court Deals Blow to Lottoland
A German judge ruled late last week that Lottoland, the digital lottery operator, does not have a legal right to offer its services in Germany. It’s just the latest big legal challenge for a company that’s seen its business model vigorously challenged by governmental entities across the globe.
The latest setback for Lottoland came when a district court in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate came down with a ruling saying that Lottoland simply does not have the authority to run games of chance in the country.
Legal challenges to Lottoland’s German presence were brought on, not surprisingly, by Rhineland-Palatinate’s state lottery operator Lotto Rhineland-Pfalz. In its case, Lotto Rhineland-Pfalz sought to not only keep the operator from competing with the governmental lottery, it also sought the chance to find out how much revenue the company has earned from German customers. (This last part is being done so the company can be properly fined for serving customers without a license.)
Lottoland’s argument against the legal wranglings of the German government is that their lottery monopoly is exactly the kind of monopoly the European Union (EU) was designed to thwart. Unfortunately, for Lottoland, there is an exemption for governmental monopolies that are in place to prevent various forms of illegal gambling. In this case, the scenario of keeping Lottoland from every having a license insures that they remain “illegal” and that a lucrative governmental monopoly stays in place.
Germany is not the first country to challenge Lottoland’s business model. The company has been engaged in a years-long legal fight in Australia where news vendors argue that the company’s digital lotteries are biting into their businesses.