Germany has agreed to double the number of sports betting licenses in the country after the European Union (EU) declared its gambling laws to be illegal.
The country banned all forms of online gaming in 2011 after it adopted the German Interstate Treaty on Gambling. Back in February 2016, the Court of Justice for the European Union announced that banning online sports-betting was against EU law, Germany has been forced to reconsider its gaming laws. The country has however limited its policy change to sports-betting licenses.
Representatives of Deutsche Lotto and Totoblock (DLTB) the German pool betting and lottery operator association announced last week that the number of sports-betting licenses has been raised to 40. The issuance of sports betting licenses has however been controversial with none of the initial 20 licenses which were awarded back in September 2014 getting activated till now due to a pending legal challenge that was raised against the licensing process.
Nevertheless these additional licenses imply that 35 applicants who are currently in the second stage of the said licensing process will automatically be awarded their licenses.
The policy was changed after 16 state presidents from across the country met last week to discuss the issue. The meeting followed an earlier session that took place at the German Association of Internet Businesses symposium where all key industry stakeholders were present to discuss the subject in detail. Some of the key stakeholders included politicians, members from industry, legal experts and academics who discussed the pros and cons along with the future of the online gambling industry in the country.
Although the meeting of state presidents resulted in the issue of sports betting licenses being addressed, the presidents rejected a proposal to extend the changes to other forms online gaming like online poker or casino games. They decided to implement minor changes to the Treaty by modifying laws related to the sports betting licenses rather than completely rewriting it.
By doing so, they have decided to put aside for the moment the guidelines developed by the Hesse state government which proposed major changes to gaming laws including a monthly €1,000 stop-loss limit for players, unlimited foreign licenses and tax rate of 20 percent on gross gaming revenue.
The amendments featuring increased sports betting licenses will be made official in June this year. It remains to be seen if this minor amendment to the treaty would be sufficient to satisfy the EU courts. The European Commission is said to be considering launching an infringement proceeding against Germany for having gambling laws not in compliance with EU laws.