Yesterday, the Gibraltar-based iGaming operator 888 Holdings revealed that an appeal to the Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverwaltunsgericht) ruling was filed by its subsidiary which online gambling services had been banned in the state of Baden-Württemberg. As previously reported by 888 Holdings, one of its Group’s subsidiaries got suspended from offering online gambling in the above-mentioned German state under a ruling of the Federal Administrative Court of the country.
Now, the Gibraltar-based gambling operator has confirmed that a complaint was filed over the legal case, after the subsidiary in question has received legal advice. In the appeal, the subsidiary of 888 Holdings has reiterated its position that the ruling of the Germany’s Federal Administrative Court violates the company’s constitutional rights, as well as the rights the company has under EU law, including the right to offer its services.
Therefore, 888 Holdings’ subsidiary insists that the court’s ruling should be reversed. The operator said that it intends to closely monitor the legal and regulatory developments in the German market and the way the country’s authorities implement these rules in terms of the online gambling offerings.
For some time now, gambling operators opposed to certain restrictions, arguing that Article 56 of the Treaty and Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) prohibited member states from imposing unnecessary crackdown on goods and services trade. However, the European Union have shown little interest towards Article 56 enforcement, or at least as far as gambling operators are concerned. The European Commission announced in December 2017 that all current infringement procedures against EU member stares involving gambling cases were to be dropped.
888 Holdings Faced Financial Difficulties in 2017
In October 2017, the Federal Administrative Court of the country upheld a lower court ruling, under which global gambling companies which did not have a German operating license were banned from offering their services to customers in the state of Baden-Württemberg. Back in March, the Gibraltar-based gambling company issued a warning to its investors, saying that it might be forced to exit the German market, which currently accounts for a massive part of its overall revenue.
At the time when the operator revealed its 2017 full-year results, it shared its concerns related to the German gambling market.
The possible closure of 888 Holdings’ operations in Germany is expected to hit the operator’s performance hard, only a few months after it suffered a massive blow due to a monetary fine imposed by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). The summer of 2017 saw the major gambling regulatory body in the UK impose a significant £7.8-million penalty on the online gambling operator after the latter was proved to have failed to protect more vulnerable customers on numerous occasions.
888 Holdings also suffered a $45-million penalty associated with VAT charges in relation to the company’s activity on the gambling market of Germany before 2015. The monetary fine came as another factor which hurt the Gibraltar-based operator’s trading in 2017.