Germany’s online gambling license plans have hit yet another roadblock. An Austria-based bookmaker has mounted a legal challenge on the process. The main argument is the existing sports betting licensing regime doesn’t have much transparency.
The country announced the enforcement of an experimental and temporary sports betting regulatory regime on January 1, 2020. The trial regime was created under Germany’s Third State Treaty on Gambling and will be effective until June 30, 2021. Then, a permanent regulatory framework will come into operation.
Vierklee claims that the process wasn’t transparent enough
The new regime consists of rules which will open the way for online gambling businesses to gain new licences. This will allow them to operate and conduct their business in a well-regulated environment.
On April 1, 2020, the Administrative Court of Darmstadt upheld a complaint filed by Vierklee, an Austrian sports betting operator. This complaint stated that the process of issuing betting licences wasn’t transparent enough and was discriminatory. This court ruling resulted in the suspension of the current process with immediate effect, until further notice.
Vierklee’s laywer said that their client hadn’t been told about the process until July last year.
The Hesse Ministry of the Interior and the Darmstadt Regional Council had been entrusted with accepting, reviewing and awarding sports betting licenses. The recent ruling by the court has thrown the eight-year-long effort to regulate online sports betting, into disarray.
Sports Betting Association of Germany terms the court ruling as a major blow
Sports Betting Association of Germany (Deutsche Sportwettenverband, DSWV) President, Mathias Dahms has termed the recent court ruling as a major blow for its members. He said all they were hoping for was early approval, which should’ve been made possible by the Third State Treaty on Gambling, which has been in effect since January 2020. However, everything has been put off its course now. It’s worth noting that Vierklee isn’t a member of DSWV.
Mr Dahms believes that there were ways to avoid the present situation and that reputed sports betting companies of the country have been denied an opportunity to be a part of a well-regulated gambling marketplace. He expressed empathy towards the employees of Darmstadt Regional Council and Hessian Ministry of the Interior, who had been working tirelessly for the entire process. As of now, DSWV is considering all legal possibilities, including appealing against Vierklee’s lawsuit.
Leaders of Germany’s 16 states had also agreed on the legalisation of online poker and online casino gambling as a part of the market reorganisation. However, the licences for these activities will become available only from July 1 2021, once the permanent regulatory framework is operational.
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