German Online Blackjack Punter Prosecuted

First case of a player charged with taking part in unlawful gaming

Reports from Germany flag the first known prosecution of a German online player for taking part in unlawful online gambling, although details are still awaited on the defendant and the internet venue where he allegedly played.

The case was heard in Munich last September and involved a painter in his 'twenties who was convicted for playing blackjack at an unidentified illegal online gambling website.

The punter was undone by his own success at the virtual blackjack tables, where he won around Euro 200,000 and withdrew it in five rather large tranches spread over a period of time.

The size of the withdrawals, which were sent to his German bank account, attracted the attention of the authorities, and a police raid on the punter's home was executed, finding a large sum of money hidden among his belongings.

The court handed down fines totalling Euro 2,100, along with the forfeiture of most of the cash found in his home.

German legislation makes provision for anyone – including players – who takes part in unlawful internet gambling punishable by fines and up to six months imprisonment.

The Court found that the defendant acted with the necessary criminal intent because the Gibraltar-based online casino venue he used clearly displayed Terms and Conditions which notified users that in some countries, participation in online casinos is punishable as illegal gambling.

According to the Court, if a user is notified of a possible criminal offence in the website's Terms of Use, the onus is then on that user to make appropriate inquiries as to whether his individual participation is allowed under local laws.

The Court observed that the first four results of a Google search for the term "gambling" conducted by court officials dealt with the criminalisation of Internet gambling and revealed that, at least under formal consideration, participation in online casinos is punishable as illegal gambling.

It appears that the defendant in this case has launched an appeal; a press release from the court this week reveals that its judgment is not final. Certainly there are a number of complex legal issues at play in this case due to the confusing laws in Germany at the time of the 2011 offence and now which could be used as the basis for further legal argument…the differing Interstate Treaties on Gambling to name just one.

The case number is Js 176411/13

Online Casino News Courtesy of Infopowa

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