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Online Gambling Industry in Germany



The 2012 Interstate Treaty on Gambling, previously replacing Germany’s gaming regulation of 2008, was expected to be enforced in January 2012.


The enactment of this new legislature was put on hold for another six months due to European Union dissatisfaction with certain aspects of the proposed laws. Similar to the 2008 legislation, the new treaty postulated a prohibition on online gambling activities like poker and other casino-type games, while focusing legalization solely on sports betting.


With the exception of the Schleswig Holstein state in the north of Germany, that choose a more liberal approach on gambling laws, the 2012 Treaty had been reinforced in all other states. In January of 2013 the previously mentioned state had allowed for 50 licenses, including online sports betting and online casino games, to be obtained by casino operators.


Online Gambling Industry in Germany


However, as of February 2013, the Schleswig Holstein state has abolished their gaming legislation, falling into place within the ISTG parameters. Being allowed to only provide online gambling to the local market, the holders of 23 sports betting and 13 online poker licenses will still have valid licenses until 2018.


Experts in the domain state that Germany’s two opposing legislatures for online gaming, besides causing plenty of deliberations and legal proceedings, can also be seen as disjointed, while the possibility exists that online gambling might lose their legitimacy. Out of the 15% market share in 2013, which is unregulated by the country, 22.7% with revenues of €357 million goes to online casinos, and 19.2% with a profit of €301 million, to online poker.


In 2014 the licenses obtained through the Schleswig Holstein state, were deemed inconsistent with EU legislation by the European Court of Justice. The said licenses would not be able to extend to other states, and while the EU accepted the country as having two distinct licensing regimes, it decreed that the stricter of the two should not contradict the EU’s laws on the matter.


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