Interior Minister Andreas Breitner has given assurances that Schleswig-Holstein’s gambling laws will be strictly enforced, stating that: “The applications will continue to be handled promptly, the decisions are of course in accordance with applicable law and order.” Another twenty-two remote sports betting applications are being reviewed in addition to twenty-two applications for remote poker and casino licences. According to Breitner, until the European Commission approves the so called E15 Inter-State Treaty on Gambling, a process that could take months, Schleswig-Holstein is obliged to consider and act upon applications.
With yesterday’s announcement that five new sports betting licences had been awarded to Ladbrokes International PLC (Gibraltar), Admiral Sportswetten (Rellingen), Admiral Sportswetten (Gumpoldskirchen in Austria), Cashpoint Malta Ltd (Malta), and 888 UK (Gibraltar) the number of remote gaming licenses issued by Shcleswig-Holstein has risen to twelve.
With these latest developments it seems to us that it is likely that several operators will gear up to settle into the German online gaming market via Schleswig-Holstein licenses and use them to their advantage for as long as they can. Others, perhaps those which are publicly listed with significant business from Germany may feel that they can ill afford potential legal and tax liabilities in the other 15 German states and will pursue one of the 20 available sports-betting licenses. Many smaller operators are likely to wait and see.
Given the rather muddled situation it is not unthinkable that a few months down the line the E15 Treaty may be further amended to take into account the fact that several operators are basing their German operations on Schleswig-Holstein licenses. This is notwithstanding the fact that the European Commission indicated that the Inter-State Treaty should be reviewed two years down the line in order to determine whether the public policy objectives which the E15 sought to rely on in order to justify the severe restrictions imposed under the Inter-State Treaty are being achieved.
29th August 2012