Germany has one of the largest sports betting markets in the world. Millions of people here place wagers on their favorite teams and players over the internet. This week, the country’s government announced that online sportsbooks in Germany can no longer feature links that offer casino gambling.
It’s a tough blow for the internet sports betting sites here, many of which offer both sporting odds and casino gaming options. Today, we’re looking at Germany’s unusual online gambling laws. We’ll also check out why these new regulations are being set in place.
Despite being one of the most economically successful countries in Europe, Germany has taken an outdated stance on the gambling industry. For years, internet gambling was unregulated in this country. In 2008, the government here implemented a new set of laws for online gambling.
The Interstate Treaty on Gambling (ISTG) made most forms of online gambling illegal. Interestingly, online sports betting and horse racing is now allowed through companies licensed by the government. All 16 states agreed to this treaty, which has undergone a series of amendments over the years.
There are now several companies legally allowed to offer sports betting odds online in Germany. Most of them offer a wide range of different odds for sporting events taking place around the world. Many individuals in this country still choose to play through foreign online gambling sites in Europe that are technically banned.
Schleswig-Holstein, a small German state in the North of the country, is the only area where online casino gambling is legal. This week, lawmakers in this country have announced that the legal online sportsbooks in Germany are facing new restrictions.
Recently, the Regional Council of Darmstadt began ordering all internet sportsbooks in the state of Hess to stop offering casino gambling options. They’ve also made it clear that companies must comply with these new laws in order to obtain an online sports betting license.
Companies must also begin providing financial information before an online sportsbook can be licensed.
These new ads are not effective immediately. Germany’s next licensing process will begin in 2020. Some sports betting operators have already applied for a license. Lawmakers have made it clear that these companies can resubmit their applications after complying with the new laws.
Gambling advertisements recently faced new restrictions, too. The country’s broadcast regulator has banned gambling ads from appearing on radio and television programs. As you might expect, gambling operators here are beginning to voice their disapproval.
Many analysts feel that Germany is missing out on millions of dollars annually with such strict gambling regulations. Many countries in Europe have recently opened up their gambling markets with tremendous success. Sweden, for example, now allows foreign gambling websites to offer online sports betting and casino gambling after obtaining a license from the government.
Sweden is also known for having strict regulations over its online gambling market.
The German Online Casino Association has pushed for lawmakers to change the country’s online gambling laws. This group states that the new restrictions set in place will damage consumer protection. By banning all forms of online casino gambling, individuals here are more likely to play through unregulated websites without government oversight.
Dirk Querman, President of the DOCV, recently commented on how better regulation would benefit the country.
“Channeling the existing demand for online gambling offerings by creating a modern legal system would on one hand create legal certainty, improve the range of products on offer, remove barriers to market entry and bring black market operators into the regulated sector. On the other, it would allow for efficient regulatory action against non-compliant and unlawful operators.”
Online sportsbooks in Germany have until January of 2020 to comply with these new rules. Companies caught breaking these laws face fines and potential license revocation.
Do you think the new regulations are fair? Could it push online gambling operators here to leave the market? Let us know in the comment section below!
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