Legal Challenge Stirs Germany’s Sports Betting Licensing Plans

A legal charge filed by an Austrian bookmaker stirred the sports betting licensing plans of Germany. Verklee, an Austrian sports betting operator, filed a legal complaint to the Administrative Court of Darmstadt over claims of insufficient transparency in the wagering license procurement process in the German state of Hesse.  

The case disturbed Germany’s plan of expanding its online betting industry.

Germany Expands Online Betting

New gambling regulations and a new regulatory body, Glücksspielneuregulierungstaatsvertrag (GlüNeuRStv),  was approved by Germany’s state leaders in their goal to empower the online gaming industry.  The regulations need the ratification from the parliament and the European Commission.  The implementation will take place in July after the ratification.  The new gambling regulations will legalize online poker and other casino-style games in the country.

In the new regulations, operators need to place a mandatory €1000 deposit limit and a €1 per spin stake limit in online slots.  In sports betting, stakes are limited to the final result or on betting for the next scorer.

GlüNeuRStv is tasked to regulate the new gambling initiatives of the state, which includes the issuance of licenses, and tasks involving local state regulators.  The new policies bring Germany to a new perspective on gaming.  Mathias Dahms, president of the German Sports Betting Association‘s (DSWV), commented Germany’s first step towards modern market-compliant gaming regulation features some undesirable structural developments.  He said that some of the features would not help in protecting the players or in fighting illegal online gaming.

Despite concerns over the restrictions, aspiring operators flooded the agency in applying for licenses within the country.  According to a report, around 30 applications filed their applications, and more than 20 are interested.

Case Filed By Vierklee

Germany’s online gaming licensing is now placed on the hot seat because of the legal complaint of Vierklee.  The company’s lawyer said that the Vierklee and other companies were not informed of the exact date of the concession procedure in July last year.  The licensing process was halted because of the situation.

Mathias Dahms, the president of the German Sports Betting Association, said that the court’s decision to halt the process is a big blow to the other members who have duly submitted their new betting license applications.

Without delays, the licensing process should legalize online gaming market by 1 July 2021.  The challenges in its path risk the completion of the initiative.  Dahms was frustrated with what happened, and he said that they wasted their effort and energy in pursuing legal certainty in the business.  Dahms is sympathizing with the personnel of the Ministry of the Interior and the Darmstadt Regional Council in Hesse, who works untiringly to process their applications.  Dahms said that they would decide to appeal after the reading of the full court ruling.

DSWV wishes for a faster processing process, and they are also advising the government to make adjustments on the betting regulations approved by the 16 state leaders of Germany in March.

DSWV urges the government to ease restrictions on in-play betting and increase the €1 limit for online slots stakes. They also wished that third-party affiliation banning be lifted.

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