Lottoland clashes with German regulator over payments blocking order

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Several payment companies have ceased cooperation with the Lottoland Group, according to Germany’s gambling regulator, which has asked more internet service providers to block access to the operator’s website

In July, the GGL first announced that it had issued IP blocking orders against Lottoland in its fight against unlicensed websites.

Lottoland in turn has said it views the blocking orders as unlawful in light of its right to provide services across borders in the EU and would defend itself “with all legal means, including state liability suits”.

The GGL said that at the beginning of October, it had asked three further ISPs to block the Lottoland Group’s websites, following on from two similar orders from July.

ISPs initially refused to follow the GGL’s blocking orders.

Benjamin Schwanke and Ronald Benter, co-CEOs of the GGL, said the authority relies on transparency and discussions with ISPs in its approach to network blocking.

Schwanke conceded the authority is aware it is entering new legal territory and that the regulator’s actions will be subject to judicial review.

Benter, meanwhile, stressed that raising awareness among ISPs is “extremely important” and insisted that those that do not follow through on the GGL’s orders will be threatened with fines.

The GGL repeated that it will use all available tools, including payments blocking, to prevent access to Lottoland.

According to the regulator, several payment service providers have already stopped working with Lottoland, although the company told iGaming NEXT that only one payment provider has so far terminated its relationship with the group.

Lottoland also told iGaming NEXT that no ISPs in Germany have blocked its websites and that no formal blocking order has yet been issued.

In addition, Lottoland’s position on the issue is unchanged. The company will take legal action in the German courts should ISP blocking orders be issued.

The GGL has been responsible for the fight against illegal gambling and advertising in Germany since 1 July.

“For us, the priority in combating the black market is enforcement against providers that are not on the official whitelist,” said Schwanke.

The GGL is of the opinion that Lottoland’s offer is “particularly precarious as many players believe they are entering a lottery game”.

However, in reality, Lottoland offers a lottery betting product, which cannot be regulated under Germany’s gambling laws, according to the GGL.

About the author

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Sonja Lindenberg

Sonja Lindenberg is an experienced editor and journalist, with a strong focus on business, finance, trade and investment. She holds a degree in business journalism and throughout the past two decades has covered companies and industries in various markets and for different media, including newspapers, news agencies, inflight magazines, country reports and trade publications. Sonja joined iGaming NEXT in June 2022.

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