Germany takes €63,490 from Online Blackjack Winner

A German man recently found out that the house isn’t the only one he needs to beat to keep his blackjack winnings. The 25-year-old, who’d won €201,500 while playing online blackjack games from July to August 2011, had €63,490 of his profits taken by the German Financial Services Authority.

The authorities raided his home and found €73,490 hidden in a shoebox in the man’s attic. But he was able to convince them that €10,000 belonged to his mother. Police took the rest of the money under the banner that the man had participated in “unlawful gambling.” In addition to having some of his winnings taken away, the blackjack player will also have to pay a €2,100 fine for violating Section 285 of Germany’s criminal code. The law reads, “Whosoever participates in a public game of chance (Section 284) shall be liable to imprisonment not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding 180 daily units.”

In this particular instance, the man was fined €30 over a 70-day span, thus leading to the €2,100 fine. This is an interesting case because Germany features one of the world’s biggest online gaming markets, which includes some well-renowned professional poker players. However, internet gaming is technically deemed illegal under the Intestate Treaty on Gambling 2012 (ISTG). The ruling by the Munich District Court represents the first time that an online gambler has been successfully prosecuted in the country.

This decision comes at a point when many countries throughout the world are beginning to consider how much tax money they’re missing out on through black-market iGaming. For example, Poland recently concluded that they could earn €142 million in taxes by regulating online casino games. Poland has since stated their intention to start monitoring and taking legal action against unlicensed iGaming operators.

Given that Germany is over twice the size of Poland, they could easily be missing out on far more than €142 million. That said, it’s very possible that they’ll be monitoring online gamblers more and iGaming sites with the intention of busting them. In the case of the blackjack player that we discussed, police were tipped off by five very large withdrawals that the player made. The German Financial Services Authorities was alerted to the activity, and they then went after the player.