Following careful consideration the European Commision (EC) deemed the draft gambling bill from the German Schleswig-Holstein state to be compliant with EU laws and regulations. After receiving the European Commision’s blessing, the Gernan northern state has no obstacles left to enact a comprehensive package of provincial German gambling laws this summer.
When enacted, the new laws will authorize the German Schleswig-Holstein’s state to begin licensing and regulating online sportsbooks. According to the German Constitution, residents of other state may legally gamble at an online sportsbook licensed in a different German state than the one they reside in.
Much debate and controversy followed the German online gambling regulations, which according to analysts would only control 7% of the German market. The remaining 93% would continue to use foreign unlicensed casinos or organized crime bookmakers. It is becoming apparent that Germany as a whole is unable to reach consensus on a regulatory package that is palatable to all German states, the consumers, and the online gambling industry.
The German market will be regulated on a state-by-state basis with EC approving the gambling framework of each state individually. Nevertheless, EC’s quick decision helped move the otherwise stagnant liberalization of the German online gambling industry.
The bold move of the Schleswig-Holstein state will allow German citizens to legally gamble online within their own country as early as November of 2011. Analysts predict a stampede for online gambling licenses, since the states’ gambling laws provide for an unlimited number of all inclusive licenses to operate online gambling sites in Germany.
The news was welcomes by the online gambling industry as well as foreign based online gaming conglomerates. Bwin.party director of corporate communications, John Shepherd, said: “Our position has not changed. If the Schleswig-Holstein law is passed, we will apply for a license.”
Shepherd went on to add: “We are encouraged by the outcome of the EU notification process for Schleswig-Holstein’s proposed law for online gaming. With just two minor points to be addressed, we view the EU’s findings as a clear signal to the other 15 Federal States that Schleswig-Holstein is moving in the right direction.”
The bill is scheduled to be debated in the Schleswig-Holstein parliament within the next 4 weeks, and by the end of June, a final vote on the gambling law will be held. Once it’s passed, reputable sportsbooks operators will be given the green light to immediately begin setting up and market websites to facilitate internet betting in Germany.