Online casino gambling in Germany, when last reported by Online.Gambling.org on March 18, 2016, was being voted down by Germany’s sixteen state ministers. At that time, Germany had just granted an additional twenty sports betting licenses to twenty existing licenses from 2014, to make a total of forty available licenses, even though none of the licenses had been activated. Proponents of online casino gambling had tried to attach online wagering options for poker and other casino table games to the sports betting licenses, but to no avail.
Fast forward to the last week of October 2016 and an agreement has been reached amongst Germany’s states for a new gambling treaty. The cap on the number of sports betting licenses available to operators has been scrapped. There is also now a good possibility that online casino games will be offered as an option to license holders. A press release was issued by the German Prime Minister’s Conference in Warnemünde confirming a new State Treaty on Gambling and a promise to end the chaos and confusion within Germany’s gambling industry that has prevailed since the last treaty was approved in 2012.
The previous twenty sportsbook licenses that had been issued in 2014 were prevented from taking effect because of court challenges by gambling operators who weren’t given a fair shot at procuring a license. As a member of the EU, Germany is subject to regulations concerning gambling. The EU’s opinion was that Germany’s licensing process was flawed and called for Germany to have a licensing do-over. German gaming regulators have been asked to study other European regulated online gambling markets to “analyze the current actual development in the field of online casino offers.”
In the past, Germany has looked at online casino gambling as an anathema that shouldn’t even be considered as a right for German citizens. So, for the government to now say online casino gambling may be okay is a dramatic shift in state policy. This new change of heart comes just a week after the German Online Casino Association (Deutsche Online Casinoverband – DOCV), was formed to lobby the government into relaxing its sports-only gambling policy. William Hill and Tipico, along with six other gaming operators, make up the DOCV.
The press release issued from the German Prime Minister’s Conference further stated that new licenses would be awarded based on “minimum quality standards.” Also, a previous regulation that placed a monthly wagering limit of €1k was replaced with a monthly loss limit of €1k. Included in the release was a call for the creation of a new agency that would enforce penalties against unauthorized online operators.
The German Sports Betting Association (DSWV) president, Mathias Dahms, said that the news from the conference “makes us hopeful,” but urged legislators to follow through on their promises by “consistently” implementing their proposals.