Germany’s online gambling monopoly faces a new threat. A six-year legal battle between the German government and Austrian online gambling group Bwin has ended in a decision that could mark the end of the country’s online gambling monopoly.
German gambling laws are prohibitive when it comes to the world of online gambling. The industry is monopolized by state-run lottery groups, which have exclusive rights to internet betting in the country. Austria-listed Bwin has been battling for the right to offer online gambling services to German players since 2004, when West German Lottery Company Westlotto took out an injunction against the group to keep them from catering to German players.
The ruling was upheld a year later, after which Bwin appealed. Then, on November 18, 2010, the German Federal Supreme Court overturned the judgement, marking a new era for internet gambling in Germany.
“We welcome the judgment by the German Federal Supreme Court”, said Bwin’s Norbert Teufelberger, “and are glad that we will have to spend less of our time in courtrooms in the future. Now we can concentrate on developing modern regulations for online gaming in Germany.”
While no immediate changes will be seen, this landmark court decision could mark the beginning of the end for Germany’s online gambling monopoly. The country has long fought against the trend, but now that the scales have tipped in favor of Bwin, it seems likely that Germany must eventually open up its restrictive market to allow foreign groups to offer online gambling sites in Germany.