15 German Länder sign new treaty

German flag

German flag15 German Länder have signed the latest version of a state treaty on gambling that has been derided at every turn as “unworkable” and not fitting in with EU laws. The only state not to add its signature to the law was Schleswig-Holstein and state premier Peter Harry Carstensen told Reuters it still needs approval from the European Commission. Another state premier, Reiner Haseloff of Saxony-Anhalt, believes it will get the approval even though the treaty has seen little change every time there’s been a revision.

If brought in mid-way through 2012, the law will only allow 20 licenses with a rate of tax set at 5% on all stakes. It imposes a total ban on online casino and poker games with those critical pointing to its favorable attitude towards monopoly providers. Schleswig-Holstein’s plan is the knight in shining armor for gaming industry firms. Its shimmering 20% gross profits tax combined with unlimited licenses to operate just about any gambling they please explains why they’re fully behind the S-H plan.

JAXX, owner of myBet.com, was one of the first to come out with comments on the latest treaty calling it “short sighted” and calling for “major improvements.”

“The regulation has not been thought through. It is a political compromise that is not fit for purpose and is grossly out of step with other European countries,” added Mathias Dahms, Management Board spokesperson for JAXX. “We doubt whether these conditions will encourage a sufficient number of companies in Germany to apply for licences for the market to be regulated effectively. Most players will continue to operate from abroad, bolstering the grey or black market. Only operators which have shops might survive amid the conditions proposed. We will have to await further developments.”

Another that has been watching on with interest is Betfair with a spokesperson telling eGR: “The incompatible and inconsistent nature of the Länder’s Treaty mean there is much legal and political wrangling to come, though in the meantime we look forward to applying for an operating licence in Schleswig Holstein.”

Schleswig-Holstein is expected to start handing out licenses from January to March with the intention to open for business at the conclusion of that period. By then the European Commission will have had its latest look at the State treaty and decide whether it’s ‘Ja oder Nein’.