What are gambling debts

Legal question of the day:

“If you can do that, I'll take over the vacuuming for a month.” Hardly anyone shouldn't have made a bet with a friend. But what if the loser of the bet does not want to redeem his betting debt?


Bet that you will be late tomorrow again? Something like that, many bets between friends and relatives are emerging. Most of the time, the counterparties also agree on a betting debt, such as paying for the meal together or doing the washing up for the next week. Anyone who allows themselves such fun should also redeem their betting debt. However, the winner cannot sue for his “claim”.

Debts of honor

Despite occasional legal errors, the vernacular often reveals the truth. Betting debts are actually debts of honor. This is clearly regulated in Section 762 of the German Civil Code (BGB). Through a game or a wager no obligation received. Surely there may be a moral obligation to meet one's betting debts. However, the winner has no legal claim to this. With a lawsuit, he would fail in court.

Recovery not possible

The same applies if you have made a stake or have already paid part of your gambling debts. If you feel remorse, you cannot reclaim what you have achieved. Since there is no liability, you cannot demand payment or any other service.

Not so with lottery

Something different applies, for example, to certain providers of sports betting or lotteries. If these have been approved by the state, you have a legal right to payment of the profit. These competitions are based on the State Treaty on Gambling in Germany. On this basis, the federal states, with the exception of Schleswig-Holstein, have enacted implementing laws for precise regulation. You also need a state permit, for example Casinos and Gambling machines. So you have with one licensed provider Won from sports betting, you can hope for a payout. If this does not happen, you have a good chance of going to court. However, the prerequisite is that you have placed your bet on your part.

Playing poker with friends illegal?

In principle, it is not forbidden to gamble in private circles for money or prizes in kind. However, there are a few rules you must follow. The game is only allowed in private spaces occur. You are not allowed to gamble for money in your local pub. Besides, you are only allowed to smaller amounts deploy. A not inconsiderable stake also makes the private round of poker at the living room table illegal. Ultimately, your private gambling is allowed not habitual occur. There is nothing wrong with an occasional meeting with your play partner. Regular meetings, for example every second Friday of the month, are considered habitual and are not allowed.

Don't take bets lightly

Even if you cannot sue for private betting debts, at least private trouble can threaten. Therefore, you should not recklessly make such bets. This is at least true if one part takes the bet really seriously. Aside from legal practice, you have at least one moral obligation.