According to a ruling by the Munich Regional Court, the Free State of Bavaria is engaging in "impermissible gambling advertising" in violation of the State Gambling Treaty.On Friday, the court upheld the complaint of a lottery betting company from Malta and ordered the Free State to cease and desist. A second lawsuit filed by a lottery company from Gibraltar was dismissed by the court because it is no longer active on the German market and therefore no longer eligible to make a claim.
Several advertising videos by the state lottery administration for Lotto Bayern suggested to consumers that participation in the lottery would enable them to "lead a happy and 'horny life,'" the civil chamber responsible for competition law found.
"With the "Glückszahlenhoroskop" (lucky number horoscope), in which lucky numbers for an astrological sign are given and can also be pre-entered in the lottery ticket, an increase in the chances of winning is suggested to the consumer in an unlawful manner under unfair competition law." The advertising complained of is "aimed at promoting the natural gambling instinct of consumers and encouraging them to actively participate in gambling."
The ruling is not legally binding. Lotto Bayern announced in Munich: "Two providers of secondary lotteries that are illegal in Germany had sued. The State Lottery and Casino Administration will examine the ruling."
The plaintiff from Malta operates secondary lotteries on a website also aimed at German players. Second lotteries are based on conventional lotteries of state gambling providers and offer bets on the outcome of their draws.
The plaintiff from Malta had sued Lotto Bayern because the video clips complained of were not factual information and communication of the chances of winning, but an active encouragement to participate in the game. The winnings were highlighted in a seductive manner, whereby the defendant violated the provisions of the State Treaty on Games of Chance. The luck horoscope suggests an increase in the chances of winning. This violates the prohibition of unfair business practices. The court upheld this claim in its entirety.The parliamentary director of the FDP state parliamentary group, Matthias Fischbach, welcomed the ruling: "The state cannot justify its lottery monopoly by fighting addiction - and at the same time advertise it to this extent." When it comes to player protection, he said, the state should be the referee and not part of the game.
Image by Hermann Traub