States in Germany Approves New Federal Gambling Regulation

Germany is edging ever closer to having a regulated gambling industry. A new gambling bill was released early March, which will completely change how the country handles sports betting licenses.

The legislation—which is known as the Third German State Treaty on Gambling —was created to amend the Interstate Treaty on Gambling and it would require a more identical approach to gambling in all 16 of the country’s federal states.

An important part of the new bill is the extension of the trial period licenses for individuals who want to start a gambling business in the country. The new trial period accommodated20 operators with an expiration date of June 30.

The trial period was created to discover how introducing competition would affect the state of the market. Additionally, the new bill will extend this trial period for several more years, up until June 30, 2021. Though, there is still clamour for an additional extension for up to three years beyond that, taking the expiration date to June 30, 2024.

The new bill will also eliminate the limit on the number of licenses to be provisioned in the sector as now, the licensing authority could issue as many licenses as it desires for both retail and online gambling. Also, certain parts of the rules and regulations guiding sports betting in the country were clarified.

For example, sports organizations now have more precise instructions on how to handle sports betting and payment providers are equally given more clear-cut guidance. There are even detailed guidelines for members of the media in this new bill.

While there are no direct mentions of online casinos in this legislation, the online casino industry is currently on the rise with platforms such as onlinecasinodeutschland.com.de offering players unprecedented features. Thus, one of the German states, Schleswig-Holstein, already issues operators online casino licenses.

In 2012, the northern state issued about 24 licenses and there were existing talks of an extension for these licenses until June 30, 2021. While the current license expiration date has been expended, but it will now be extended until 2021 with the aid of the new federal gambling treaty.

This comes as good news to the various states because the bill recognizes their right to go after legal online casinos, provided they guarantee “a legally sound base that guarantees the security of cash flows while protecting the consumer against data misuse and addiction.”

The vote for the new bill was made on March 21 during an interstate conference that had all the prime ministers from the 16 federal states in attendance.The result of the vote was a widespread approval from all the ministers,indicating that the huge decision about the permanent regulation of the gambling industry in Germany will not tarry for another couple of years.

The extension period, pegged now at June 30, 2021, was a result of the conference which held in Berlin, allowing operators to apply for licenses at a particular stage during 2019, and the new licenses will become valid starting January 1, 2020.

Nonetheless, this new measure would need to be approved by the European Commission (EC) and based on previous experiences, the EC hasn’t always shown full-out support to the liberalization of gambling in Germany.

Despite the positive the new bill brings, The German Sports Betting Association noted that they are displeased with the new bill. According to the organization, it says that the structural deficits present during the last treaty were still not addressed in the new bill and are clamouring for further negotiations for more fundamental reform of gambling laws in the country.

Asides from the introduction of the new bill, another significant change in 2019 in the German gambling sector is a national ban on radio and television advertising of gambling. In aletter sent on February 25 from the Media Authority of Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein to broadcasters, details of this media ban were discussed; a law which kicks in immediately.

However, this ban requires no legislation as most networks are already complying with it. But those who have failed to comply could face administrative action if they continue to resist.

Nonetheless, despite the federal treaty being a giant step forward for the gambling sector in Germany, many still see the ban on gambling advertising as a regressive action.


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