The German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia (in German: Nordrhein-Westfalen) has voted in favor of joining the German State Treaty on Online Gaming. The treaty allows individual states to have their own legalized sports betting, but puts a ban on German online poker.
North Rhine-Westphalia Interior Minister Ralf Jaeger commented: "This will create an attractive alternative offer to illegal online poker and German online casino games."
Another state in the Northern part of Germany, Schleswig-Holstein is expected to join the State Treaty on Online Gaming, which was adopted a few months ago.
Schleswig-Holstein broke away from federal regulations to make its own State Regulation on gambling. The new situation lead to the application for 12 new German sports betting licenses in just a few weeks.
However, a new coalition government of Schleswig-Holstein started lobbying to join the federal State Treaty again, but still plans to maintain licenses already awarded by its predecessors.
The German State Gaming Treaty caused a lot of debate and controversy with the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA). According to the European Union Law, the German regulation is in fact illegal, despite reforms in the European policies on gambling.
The German federal gambling law awaits the outcome of a legal complaint to the EU and the European Commission submitted on behalf of several high-profile gaming operators.
At the same time, the German Monopolies Commission has also expressed its worries about the Gaming Treaty, naming incompatibility with EU and German Constitutional Laws as the main reason against it. The German anti-monopoly also expressed it concerns over the tax framework of the new Gaming Treaty.