Germany’s Heads Of State’s Gambling Talks Reach Breakthrough

According to information from local news outlets, the heads of Germany’s 16 states have reached a breakthrough in talks over the future of the nation’s online gambling industry.

On 1 January 2020 Germany adopted an experimental sports betting system approved in the so-called Gambling Treaty of the Third State. The new regime allowed interested sports betting operators to apply to German regulators for licences and operate in a regulated environment.

The experimental regulatory framework will remain in force until June 30th, 2021, while by that time German lawmakers will negotiate and eventually adopt a new, permanent legislation.

It reported earlier this week that substantial progress has been made by the 16 states in the country in negotiating the terms of a new State Gambling Treaty. Leaders of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein said the model agreed upon by them and fellow lawmakers from the other states of the nation represented a “really good result” for all the jurisdictions concerned.

The regulatory framework recently proposed a lift of the current ban on offering online casino and poker services. Sports betting will remain legal if and when the new State Gambling Agreement is implemented.

This ensures that interested operators on the German territory will be able to apply for and receive licences to provide online slots and table games as well as online poker.
Under the new regime, a new regulator for gambling will be established, and it has also become known. The department will be charged with accepting and processing licence applications for the various online gaming activities that are licenced throughout the 16 states of Germany.

It became clear that while national licences will be issued by the new regulator, each individual state will be able to develop and enforce its own legislation and technical requirements for online casino services.

Schleswig-Holstein’s president, Dirk Schrödter, said this week that the currently under consideration gambling legislation would pave the way for the implementation of a “sufficiently attractive” gambling system that would “ensure the channelling of gambling” into the regulated market and away from the black market.

The legalisation of online casino and poker products has been an issue over which the leaders of Germany’s 16 states have continued to disagree. Although Schleswig-Holstein has long advocated the legalisation of these items, many other states have resisted adding them to the list of permissible online gambling activities.

Where the new national regulator would be located is still unclear. The structure under which online casino and poker activities will be taxed, as well as other controls that would regulate the industry, including rules on gambling advertising, are also yet to be determined by lawmakers.

The Darmstadt Regional Council, which is the agency responsible for reviewing applications for sports betting licences, has submitted 11 applications from sports betting companies since the Gambling Third Treaty came into effect earlier this month. Interested operators are expected to file another seven applications in the coming weeks.

The Third Gambling Treaty abolished a previous cap on the number of licences available for grabs, but interest has so far been mild as can be seen.

Online gambling giant bet365 late last year suggested it would seek a German sports betting licence by shutting down its online casino in the country in accordance with the newly adopted rules.