Posted 3/21/11 : Conflicting court decisions on State Treaty on Gaming
Contradictory court rulings in German courts last week only added to the general confusion on the legality in EU terms of the monopolistic States Treaty on Gaming.
The treaty, an agreement among the 16 German provinces that gives them monopolistic control over the lucrative German gambling market, is currently under review following differences of opinion by certain signatory states, and pressure from the European Commission.
In one ruling last week a court in Bremen lifted a ‘cease and desist' order on a sports betting operator, finding that the Treaty under which the order was imposed is in conflict with European Union laws.
Conversely, another court in Saxony imposed a ‘cease and desist' injunction on eleven defendants alleged to have been providing gambling services to German residents in contravention of the Treaty.
The rulings are just the latest in a confusing legal scene where the Berlin Administrative Court has raised enquiries regarding the compatibility with EU law of the Treaty, but the Higher Administrative Court has yet to make a final decision, but wants private betting companies excluded from the market while it considers the situation.
Clearly some innovative thinking will be required among the 16 states to align the German gambling industry more closely with neighbouring and more progressive regulatory developments and the requirements of the European Commission, which will shortly be issuing its Green Paper on online gambling and initiating a wide public consultation on the way forward for the European industry.