German state Schleswig-Holstein has given operators an early Christmas present by issuing its first online casino games licences that allows companies to also start offering poker. A press release from the state government explained that 12 operators were given the licences including Ladbrokes, 888, Betfair and bet365 as well as PokerStars and bwin.party – both under their respective subsidiaries REEL Germany Limited and ElectraWorks. Bet-at-home, mybet, Cashpoint, Online Casino Germany, Tipico, and Skill On Net also received licences to operate in the state.
Under the terms online casinos must give “hourly reality checks” to users in order to tell them how much they’ve won or lost. The rules also outlaw the use of online poker bots and it contains various rules relating to money laundering, IT infrastructure and security of player data.
The licences mean company’s can offer a wide range of games under the online casino games category and gives the chance for PokerStars to start chipping away at bwin.party’s market share in the latter’s most lucrative market. All licences are valid until Dec. 18, 2018 and the state’s presser acknowledged 18 further applications for the online casino licences being on file.
Another raft of licences being awarded continues to muddy the waters ahead of a January that will see the German State Treaty discussed by the state. If S-H decides to adopt the treaty, which allows just sports betting and has a tax rate of 5 percent on turnover, it’ll be quite hard for them to justify taking away these very licences. The deadline for them to vote of the federal treaty is Jan. 7, 2013 with Jan. 21 the deadline for companies to apply for the 20 licences available under the state treaty. Then Jan. 24 sees the country’s Federal Court of Justice decide if the bill is legal or not. At least it’ll help them burn off those extra Xmas Sausages.