Friday August 26,2011 : Doubts that continued monopoly is legal
 
Attempts by the German lander (provinces) to perpetuate the state sports betting monopoly under a new Treaty were dealt another blow by a German court this week.
 
The state of Hesse's administrative court said it doubted that the German state's monopoly on sports betting was legal ahead of a planned relaxation of the country's stringent gambling laws, reports the Reuters news service.
 
The Hesse court's doubts are based on the fact that the government had underreacted to the immense growth of gambling offers in areas other than sports betting, particularly in amusement arcades, and that regulators had so far not objected to aggressive advertising by the state-run lottery.
 
In a ruling dated August 9, the court overturned a decision to stop an unnamed German company from brokering sports bets for a Malta-based partner company while an appeal was pending.
 
"There was no indication of a public interest in the ban taking effect immediately because … a so-called concession model will be tested in coming years that will also make it legal for private companies to broker sports bets," the court said.
 
In trying to perpetuate a still-restrictive market in Germany, the country's 16 provinces have proposed awarding just seven nationwide licences for sports betting companies from next year.
 
Third-party companies such as betting firms, including Bwin.party , have criticised the states' plans as anti-competitive.
 
The largely illegal German sports betting market is estimated to be worth about Euros 5 billion ($7.2 billion).