December 15,2011 : But Schleswig Holstein says "no thanks"
After months of debate, fifteen of Germany's sixteen Lander (provinces or states) gave their approval on Thursday to a controversial new gambling law supposedly aimed at liberalising the heavily monopolised market, but de facto offering limited improvements on the old treaty.
The current draft of the law, which has been widely criticised, not least by the European Commission, allows for 20 sports betting licences and introduces a 5 percent gambling sales tax.
State premier Peter Harry Carstensen of Schleswig-Holstein, advised that Schleswig Holstein stood alone in not signing up for the new law, which he said still needs the approval of the European Commission.
Schleswig Holstein has taken a more progressive approach to gambling reform, framing its own more liberal regulations, which have been applauded by online gambling companies and approved by the European Commission.
The Reuters news agency reports that foreign betting companies from other EU countries have complained that the new German law would favour state gambling monopolies and limit their activities in the German sports betting market, which is estimated to be worth Euros 5 billion.
Major groups like Betfair have urged the EC to block any attempt by the German lander to perpetuate their monopoly and exclude competition.