Volume: 16 Issue: 3
The heads of Germany’s 16 states signed on 16 March 2017 the country’s new federal gambling treaty (‘NT’), despite the European Commission (‘EC’) criticising the NT as not being ‘a workable solution.’ Under the NT, those 35 operators who applied for a sports betting licence in 2012 will receive an interim concession beginning on 1 January 2018; inter alia the EC has criticised that operators later entering the market would face established operators, and that the NT does not regulate online casino and poker.
“Those 35 licence applicants and those companies that will be excluded are almost certain to challenge an interim licensing regime,” said Dr Matthias Spitz, Partner at Melchers. “The ‘35’ will not be ready to accept rigid licensing conditions, such as having to switch off online casino. The excluded companies will not be ready to relinquish the increased legal protection against enforcement that the position of an interim licensee offers.”
The NT must now be ratified by all state parliaments. Certain politicians in Schleswig-Holstein (‘SH’) have reportedly expressed doubts that the NT will pass in SH; however SH’s Prime Minister has confirmed that SH will ratify the NT. “The NT will pass the various state parliaments,” believes Paul Voigt, Partner at Taylor Wessing. “Still, the EC might act on its threats to start infringement proceedings against Germany for breaching the freedom of services with its restrictive gambling regulations.”