As revealed by iGB, Germany’s Higher Administrative Court of Rhineland-Palatinate, recently ruled against a blocking order issued by the country’s gambling regulator against Lottoland, an online lottery provider based in Malta. The Court followed an appeal as the GGL previously ordered internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to Lottoland, claiming the operator and its subsidiaries offered services illegally in the country for a number of years.
In an unexpected turn of events, the Higher Administrative Court deemed GGL’s order, which dates back to October 2022, as “clearly unlawful.” The Court explained that the gambling regulator did not have the authority to enforce such block and demand ISPs to block the access to Lottoland and its subsidiaries.
At the same time, the Court explained that ISPs cannot be held responsible under the current legal framework for content that is provided or broadcasted via a third party. This is with the only exception if the ISPs are directly involved in the process.
GGL’s Clash with Lottoland
Upon probing Lottoland last year, the GGL claimed that its offerings are illegal. This is because the operator and its subsidiaries offer betting on the outcome of different lottery games, which, under the gambling regulation in Germany isn’t allowed. Back in October, the GGL said it wants to protect consumers from harm and asked ISPs to IP block the operator and its subsidiaries in an effort to discontinue their offering in the country.
The enforcement call came a few months after the regulator started operating. Ultimately, the gambling authority sought to decrease the number of illegal offerings to protect Germans from gambling-related harm.
But neither ISPs nor Lottoland was happy with GGL’s enforcement action at the time. The operator issued a statement disputing GGL’s label of an “illegal operator.” At the time, the company said that the GGL breaches the gambling regulations by issuing a blocking order. Moreover, Lottoland pointed out that it had applied for a license in Germany as well.
Lottoland also explained that its services and products are operating in line with the freedom of services regulation within the European Union. Additionally, the operator flagged that the German regulations breach EU treaties.