Saturday January 31,2015 : FIVE ONLINE CASINO OPERATIONS EXIT GERMAN MARKET
Is this an operator or a software provider decision?
Five online casinos advised their German players in very similar communications this week that they plan to exit the German online gambling market on February 1, triggering speculation on whether this was an individual operator decision or one handed down by their common software provider, Playtech.
Casino.com, MansionCasino.com, LesAcasino.com, Club777.com, and SlotsHeaven.com all informed their German players that registration will be blocked for all new players resident in Germany, and that deposits will no longer be accepted from existing players with effect from February 1, although play-for-fun facilities will remain available.
Whether these decisions were made to respect the restrictive laws ushered in two years ago by the 2012 Interstate Treaty on Gambling; the growing collaboration on regulation between EU member states; stricter enforcement of existing laws; or are based on wider corporate strategic objectives is not known, but some commentators have pointed to the recent conviction of a German online blackjack player as a harbinger of stricter enforcement action.
So far, tens of thousands of German punters have made their own decisions on where and when to gamble online and have been largely unchallenged by the complicated and often confusing laws on gambling currently in force.
Whether the German authorities will tighten their enforcement grip on the industry and trigger the exit of more operators remains to be seen…Betfred and Betfair both departed the German market six months back, clearly discouraged by the uncertainties.