On January 1st of 2008 Germany passed a set of laws that banned all forms of online gambling across the country, save for horse racing. Since that time, Austrian based online gaming firm Bwin Interactive Entertainment AG, has been actively mounting a legal battle through the European Union to reverse what they see as an unjustified and illegal maneuver. This week Bloomberg reported in their business news section that Bwin may win a legal fight that will award the company Euro 118 million in annual revenues from Germany meaning they’d have to pay them such a sum at years end ad infinitum.
The news source quotes Johannes Caspar, a law professor at Hamburg University and legal adviser to the Schleswig-Holstein state legislature, saying that Vienna-based Bwin may very likely succeed with their pending lawsuits challenging the January 2008 Interstate Treaty.
When a company the size of Bwin files a lawsuit, things start to happen. Bwin is probably Europe’s largest private online sports-gambling company and they make sure at all costs that their business practices continue unmolested.
Bwin argues the prohibition, approved in all 16 German states, violates European Union law.
"It won't stand the test at the European Court of Justice," Caspar said.
The professors’ views were released in light of a decision made earlier this week by Spielbanken Niedersachsen GmbH (SNG), the exclusive Lower Saxony state licensed and regulated casino operator, to enter online gambling using a Chartwell Technology package
The executive arm of the European Union commenced a series of infringement proceedings against Germany at the end of January and has been tightening their vice on them ever since. According to one of the European Commissions’ spokesmen, Oliver Drewers, the main problem is that Germany is selectively banning certain forms of online gambling.
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.