Is it legal to offer gambling for residents in EU jurisdictions in which an operator does not hold a license, yet is authorized in another – this is the issue that is about to find an answer after an Austria-based litigation financing firm filed legal claims against gaming companies licensed elsewhere including Malta.
EU Law vs. Local Law
Advofin is looking to recoup in excess of €40 million on behalf of Austrian players who lost money online, but Ola Wiklund, a Swedish lawyer dealing with iGaming issues who was contacted for advice from lawyers in Malta representing implicated operators, firmly believes these attempts represent a “jurisdictional overreach”.
The group of implicated operators includes some industry-leading names such as Bet365, PokerStars, William Hill, Bwin, Leo Vegas, 888, and Interwetten, according to EGR’s earlier report.
The claims reside on the text of Austrian law which states that online casino gambling can be offered only by a licensed operator in the country, which currently is only Casinos Austria, and according to the law, any other firm which targeted Austrian players have done that illegally.
Any Austrian resident who played online is deemed by the law to have signed a legal contract with the gambling operator, which enforces the local law, claims Advofin, which processed more than 2,000 claims from players who lost money to more than 60 websites owned by 71 operators, and is now looking to recover their net losses.
According to Article 4 of the Treaty for the Functioning of the EU, a member