Germany’s Online Casino Fate Still Undecided

Germany’s Online Casino Fate Still Undecided ( Click to Enlarge )

Despite an amendment last week to Germany’s inter-state treaty on gambling, the country still lacks direction in relation to online casinos. Operators of online gambling in the country have been eagerly awaiting a decision, but impatience is growing with the country’s 16 states, who have consistently failed to piece together a coherent strategy.

What Has Happened?

Last week, the state prime ministers agreed to remove a limit of operating licences for online gambling in the country – a restriction that had led to a number of legal challenges. But they didn’t take the issue any further than that.

As it stands, the new licensing process would issue permits beginning in 2020 with no limit in terms of number, but they would only be valid until June 2021; a very short time frame.

The amended treaty addresses some regulations that have been contrary to market practice, but there is still no clear path for the future of online casinos. The current discussions indicate there may be the option for each state to individually decide how it chooses to regulate online casinos.

As Things Stand…

The agreement opens the door for states to begin taking applications for licences in January. The state of Schleswig-Holstein had already broken away from the existing treaty and set up its own licensing system, and that looks set to continue. All 23 of its existing licence holders will be free to continue their operations into the extended period to June 2021, but then they will be faced with the same uncertainty.

Expert Intervention

The German gambling association is called the DSWV. They had hoped to see a removal of the limit of €1,000 per month for live bets. In a statement, they commented on the states’ choice to ignore “customer desires” and “social realities“, and the likelihood that this would only lead to more “failed legislation“. This makes licensed betting unappealing, and pushes players towards the black market, they claimed.

The association is demanding increased consultation between interested parties, online casino operators and consumer representatives. Having only politicians and trade associations involved in the debate is producing a myopic view of the existing situation.