German Unemployed Barred From Gambling

Germany’s most populous and economically powerful state has now effectively barred its unemployed from being allowed to bet on sports.
Germany’s biggest lottery operator is called Westlotto and  the company also offers a range of various other gambling options, including sport betting.
However, back in March a Cologne tribunal banned Westlotto staff from accepting “heavy bets” from those people “who bet money far in excess of their revenues” in the stae of North Rhine-Westphalia.
The main target of the ruling were those people in receipt of social security benefits and despite subsequent opposition to the decision, the Cologne Regional Court has now reaffirmed its sports betting ban.
Nonetheless, the court has still left a lack of clarity in its ruling after failing to explain what constituted a heavy bet, and stating Westlotto staff were not required to check which customers were on benefits. Instead, employees are expected to rely on their own judgment.
Following the ban, Westlotto indicated that they now intended to appeal the decision at the Higher Regional Court of Cologne. Company spokesman Axel Webber further added that the court, “is and remains out of touch with reality,” before then explaining:
“To refuse to take a bet simply because of a suspicion would amount to discrimination, according to our reading of the law.”
Although currently restricted to the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, lottery companies fear the Cologne court ruling may set a dangerous precedent for other state courts to follow. As a statement from the Association of German Lottery Resellers stated:
“We are very irritated by the unrealistic and discriminatory decision of the Cologne court. How are we to verify that a potential punter is a recipient of Hartz IV aid? Should we ask people if they are poor and unemployed before filling out the betting slip?”
In recent times, state unemployment benefit has been blamed for a whole host of social ills, including illegal immigration, fraud, large poor families, as well as drug and gambling problems. Presently, there are around 7 million people in Germany receiving benefits.

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