As reported early January on, Germany has begun to implement a series of laws essentially banning all online poker rooms, but they will not be passed without a fight. As predicted during the previous article, due to the massive number of businesses and the perceived illegality of laws many of the successful poker rooms operating in Germany have already heeded the call of battle. BWIN, an Austrian based online gambling company, has already gained ground receiving permission from the German courts to resume their online gambling activities in the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. 

The Austrian based company received a favorable ruling this week from the Karlsruhe court stating that Bwin Interactive Entertainment AG is now allowed to accept wagers from customers in the German state. Their new ruling essentially reverses the new legislation that was passed on January 1st because they claim that the previous law cannot be executed on such a regionally limited ban. They say that it is simply not technically enforceable.

The newest front in the “war on online gambling”, Germany will surely have a difficult time trying to maintain their new legislation. With companies like Bwin who have roughly 2 million customers in Germany and several hundred thousand in Baden-Wuerttemberg along, it will be surely be an uphill battle trying to keep poker off of German computer screens.

Earlier this week the European Gaming and Betting Association filed a formal complaint to the European Commission arguing that the recent laws banning all forms of online gambling in Germany (save for horse racing) was an illegal move. The European Gaming and Betting Association represents nearly all of the major European gaming groups and is fiercely determined to reverse what they believe is bogus legislation.

The official secretary general of the EGBA, Sigrid Ligne, was quoted earlier this week as saying, “The official claim is consumer protection and we feel that claim is unjustified. Why focus on internet gambling when traditional land-based offline gambling is being promoted in Germany? We urge the Commission now to fast track our complaint and launch infringement proceedings against Germany."

So far the European Commission has been in concordance with members of the EGBA. According to one of the European Commissions’ spokesmen, Oliver Drewers, the main problem is that Germany is selectively banning certain forms of online gambling. Essentially what he is talking about is what happened in the United States. In the US, instead of having a blanket ban on all forms of online gambling they allowed the continuation of betting on animal races online. In Germany, they are continuing the sale of state lotteries, which is a main reason why the online groups will likely be successful in their case.

Drewers was quoted as saying, “You have to have the same rules for everybody and not a situation where different operators are treated in a different way." He also added that 10 EU member states were currently facing similar problems concerning the status of online gambling including Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Hungary.

"Prohibition is not and has never been a solution, be it in our sector or other sectors," EGBA chairman Norbert Teufelberger commented. "It is not a responsible approach and cannot be a substitute to an efficient gaming policy. Focusing on online gaming does not make sense when most recent peer-reviewed studies show that although online and offline gaming [have] different target audience[s], players' behavior is similar whether online or offline."

Hopefully Germany will give up their attempt to monopolize the German gaming industry and reverse their inane legislation. Until that day they can be sure that Europe’s online gaming companies will continue to fight.

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