New treaty could allow online casinos in Germany, but not any time soon

  • Treaty could lay a path for online casinos in Germany
  • But pace of change is expected to be slow
  • Bill could be unlikely to see the light of day

A new gambling treaty that could open up the online casino sector in Germany, as well as offer more sports betting choice has passed one hurdle, but the pace of change is still expected to be slow.

The German Gaming Authority has praised the treaty as a small step in the right direction
The German Gaming Authority has praised the treaty as a small step in the right direction

Germany’s 16 federal states have approved the new State Treaty on Gambling, which would lift the cap on the number of available sports betting licenses, crack down on unauthorized gambling, and lay the future groundwork for online casino licenses.

However, commentators have warned that the bill is still unlikely to see the light of day due to further opposition and legal issues.

The treaty must still be ratified by the legislature of each state, with Schleswig-Holstein a potential block. The state already has fairly comprehensive regional gambling legislation, although this would be able to co-exist with a federal version.

The European Commission have also been unenthusiastic over the treaty, insisting it is “not a viable solution” to the problems faced by Germany. The EC have sought to encourage Germany to authorise other forms of gambling for greater consumer protection, but things appear to be moving extremely slowly.

One small step for the betting industry

On that note, the German Sports Betting Association called the move “a small step in the right direction.” However, many of the legal challenges which dogged the previous bill appear likely to manifest themselves once again. With the controversial decision to limit the number of licenses available, Germany opened itself up to legal challenges from companies who were denied licenses, and while the plan to remove the cap seems to make sense, the procedure for applying for licenses has still been criticised as “chaotic” by some.

While things may be moving in the right direction, it seems that the new bill, even if it does go ahead, is unlikely to prove a magic bullet for Germany’s casino industry.

OUR VERDICT

Once again the fraught world of online casino and gambling legislation rears its head. It is the job of lawmakers to thrash out sensible legislation, but it will never please everyone, so opposition inevitably mounts. A little-by-little approach may be the only way forward, but for German players who are seeking to access online casinos, it may be a case of just being patient.

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