Betfair has added its name to the long list of companies and industry associations opposed to Germany’s proposed new gambling laws. The Gibraltar-based, UK-listed betting exchange formally submitted its bunched-up panties to the European Commission in Brussels on Wednesday. Betfair says the new draft treaty agreed upon by 15 of Germany’s 16 lander (states) doesn’t go far enough to eliminate the traditional favoritism afforded to certain state-run operations under the previous scheme. Chief legal and regulatory officer Martin Cruddace told the Financial Times that the “salient points of the European Commission’s detailed opinion have as of yet not been addressed … under these current proposals Germany’s new state treaty will be out of line and out of touch with fundamental EU law.”
Germany’s 15 lander are undaunted by such criticism, employing the usual ‘protectionism protects our helpless citizenry from predators’ schtick to get around the EU’s supposed free market sensibilities. Germany expects/hopes to get Brussels’ blessing on their new treaty so that the individual state leaderships can sign off on the deal by Dec. 15. Meanwhile, the renegade state of Schleswig-Holstein is proceeding apace with its own online gambling plans, featuring terms infinitely more preferable by the gambling outfits than those offered by the other 15 states.
Stateside, Betfair subsidiary TVG continues negotiations with California racetracks to make exchange wagering a reality in the Golden State. While the necessary legislation was passed last year, Betfair needs to strike deals with tracks to ensure they back the system. Betfair’s current proposal is for a 10% commission on wagers, two-thirds of which would go to the track. Stephen Burns, head of Betfair’s office in San Francisco, admits that’s a generous split from the track’s perspective, but from where he sits, “unless there’s a healthy horse racing industry … no matter how great our betting product is, people won’t want to bet on it.”