Thursday saw the leaders of the 16 German states assemble in Berlin to discuss ways of fixing the country’s stalled gambling regulations, which the European Union’s top court has declared illegal under EU law. The European Commission is believed to be preparing infringement proceedings against Germany over its failed gambling regime.
In October, officials in the state of Hesse proposed a number of suggestions for bringing the federal treaty into compliance, including lifting the arbitrary cap on the number of available licenses. In September 2014, Germany awarded 20 sports betting licenses but none of these licenses have been activated due to legal challenges by failed applicants.
On Friday, representatives of German lottery and pool betting operator association Deutsche Lotto and Totoblock (DLTB) told local media that the state ministers had agreed to double the number of available licenses to 40, meaning all 35 applicants who made it to the second stage of the controversial licensing process would automatically be approved to offer sports betting in Germany.
However, the ministers reportedly rejected proposals to extend the licensing regime to include other online betting options such as casino and poker games. The ministers were said to have favored “minimally invasive surgery” to heal the ailing interstate treaty, dashing the hopes of online operators hoping to offer a wide-ranging product to their German customers.
The amended treaty will likely be officially signed into law in June. Whether or not this change will be sufficient to ward off the EC’s infringement proceedings remains to be seen.