BUSINESS

German states still can’t make unanimous decision regarding monopolies

TAGs: European Court of Justice, Germany, lotteries

german-states-clashIt looks like plans for Germany’s gambling market to open up have had their last Bratwurst and Sauerkraut for the moment if reports coming out of the central European country are to be believed.

Wolfgang Boehmer, state premier of Saxony-Anhalt, was quoted on Reuters as saying that after a meeting with his colleagues on Wednesday they had agreed to keep the monopoly on lotteries but still needed to agree future regulation for sporting bets.

The states need to come to some sort of decision regarding sports betting by the end of 2011, which is also agreed upon at Federal level.

Currently, Christian Democrat states that are aligned with Chancellor Angela Merkel are pushing for full regulation of the sports betting market, and access to the billions of Euros it will bring. Social Democrats, meanwhile, are vehemently opposed to this idea.

It all comes to a decision made back in September; the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that the German gambling restrictions didn’t conform to EU regulations. The ECJ’s main gripe was with the fact that the monopolies that exist were only allowed to be in place if they are actively trying to prevent problem gambling. This was flouted by the fact that they engaged in aggressive advertising campaigns in a number of mediums. The German Federal Court also agreed with this view.

A decision on sport bets may come next February when the heads of the states’ chancelleries are due to discuss it, a Saxony-Anhalt spokesperson said. In the meantime, the outsiders looking in could spend their time swotting up on German culture, and thinking up amusing advertising campaigns and slogans – it’s a way to pass time after all.

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