Sunday July 12,2015 : GERMAN BETTING LAWS UNDER THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION MICROSCOPE
Sports betting monopoly and the prohibition of online casino and poker activity questioned.
Germany's seemingly chaotic betting laws under the 2012-revised State Treaty on Gambling have come under fire from the European Commission through the EU Pilot scheme, a system introduced in 2008 through which the Commission can communicate its concerns to Member States on possible infringements of EU laws.
The Commission has raised several questions regarding German gambling laws, among them what steps the German authorities plan to take to eliminate the current sports-betting monopoly operated by state-owned Oddset, and a recommendation that officials reconsider the current banning of online casino and poker games bearing in mind the large "gray market" that in practical terms is operating within the country, effectively outside national regulation and control.
Germany has yet to show conclusively that the current ban helps the authorities to fight problem gambling and money laundering, the Commission notes.
The Commission's comments follow an article published in mid-June this year in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, in which the Minister of the Interior and Sport for the German state of Hesse, Peter Beuth, whose department is responsible for issuing Germany's 20 sports betting licences, called for an overhaul of the Interstate Treaty (Glücksspielstaatvertrag).
He admitted that the current legalization is incapable of achieving its objectives, and suggested that the German states should leave the "blind alley" and change the law.
Member States contacted through the EU Pilot scheme have 10 weeks to reply, so Germany will be under pressure to respond by September 17, 2015. The Commission then has a further ten weeks to review the situation and decide on the next step.
The possible consequences of an inadequate rationale for the decisions that have been made could be a visit to the European Court of Justice under a Commission infringement procedure.