Germany’s states have reached agreement on a new gambling treaty, scrapping the cap on the number of available licenses and possibly authorizing casino products.
On Friday, the German Prime Minister’s Conference in Warnemünde issued a press release stating that agreement had been reached between the 16 German Länder on the broad strokes of a new State Treaty on Gambling, promising an end to the chaos that has paralyzed Germany’s gambling industry since the previous treaty was approved in 2012.
The release states that the previous treaty’s restriction on issuing no more than 20 sports betting licenses will be scrapped. Licenses will now be awarded based on “minimum quality standards.”
Germany issued 20 sportsbook licenses in September 2014 but court challenges by operators left out in the cold have prevented these licenses from taking effect. Various courts in Germany and at the European Union have slammed the original license application process as fundamentally flawed, leading to widespread calls for a licensing do-over.
In even more encouraging news, German gaming regulators have been asked to study other European regulated online gambling markets to “analyze the current actual development in the field of online casino offers.”
While not a de facto green light, Germany has previously balked at anything to do with online casino gambling, so this is a significant shift. The statement failed to specify whether online poker would fit into this category.
The casino news comes just one week after a new German Online Casino Association (Deutsche Online Casinoverband – DOCV) formed to press the government on relaxing its sports-only gambling policy. Eight companies, including William Hill and Tipico, form the nucleus of the DOCV.
Friday’s statement also said regulators would look to swap the previous monthly wagering limit of €1k with a monthly loss limit of €1k. But as proof that protectionist impulses die hard, the statement also calls for the creation of a public institution tasked with strengthening enforcement actions against unauthorized online operators.
Mathias Dahms, president of the German Sports Betting Association (DSWV) said Friday’s news “makes us hopeful,” but urged legislators to follow through on their promises by “consistently” implementing their proposals.