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Gambling addict received half a million euros from betting provider after lawsuit

Gambling addict received half a million euros from betting provider after lawsuit
Gambling addict received half a million euros from betting provider after lawsuit

Image: VOLKER WEIHBOLD

Addiction experts warn of the high addictive potential of sports betting, which attracts a lot of interest, especially during major sporting events such as this year’s European Football Championship. As the Ö1 Mittagsjournal of the ORF reported on Wednesday, a man lost around 900,000 euros on sports betting within 13 months. His lawyer sued the online sports betting provider and has since sued for half a million. He is now suing for the rest.

It started with a lucky streak

It all began years ago with a lucky streak and big winnings for the man, who wishes to remain anonymous, as his Salzburg lawyer Johannes Koman told ORF. Despite losses, his client kept trusting that his original luck would return and so he kept playing. He received the money for this from people around him.

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The man had placed bets of over 100,000 euros on individual sports bets, the lawyer explained. The Salzburg betting law stipulates that you can only bet 500 euros per bet, but this does not apply to online sports betting, especially not from foreign sports betting providers.

In 2020, Koman filed a lawsuit on behalf of his client against Hillside Sports ENC, based in Malta. Hillside is one of the world’s largest online sports betting providers, including the Bet365 platform. The Salzburg lawyer argued in court that his client was addicted to gambling. “Legally, gambling addiction means partial incapacity to do business,” he said. During the period in which one places this extreme number of bets with these extreme values, one is not responsible, i.e. partially incapable of doing business.

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Linz Higher Regional Court sentenced betting providers

The second instance, the Higher Regional Court of Linz, sentenced Hillside to pay a good 500,000 euros plus legal costs and default interest. Hillside’s attempt to take the case to the Supreme Court (OGH) failed. The OGH declared an extraordinary appeal inadmissible. But despite the legally binding judgment, Hillside did not pay at first, but instead offered a settlement of 100,000 euros.

This was an attempt to hold out a certain amount to the client in the hope that he was already in such financial difficulties that he would rather accept a sixth immediately than the whole sum at some point, explained Koman. Hillside only paid after newspapers reported on the case. According to the lawyer, however, around 80,000 euros in interest on arrears is still missing.

Austria is a special case when it comes to sports betting

Hillside has so far refused to comment on the case. Koman has now sued for the remaining amount of his client’s lost money, around 400,000 euros. Austria is the only country in the EU where sports betting is considered a game of skill and not a game of chance. That is why it is less strictly regulated.

Most of his clients have lost their entire livelihoods through sports betting, said Koman, criticizing the fact that player protection does not work properly. “Somehow we need to put a stop to the fact that you can simply lose everything because of a gambling addiction.” Several media outlets, including the Kronenzeitung and the Salzburger Nachrichten, have already reported on the Salzburg lawyer’s partial success.

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Source: Nachrichten

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