22nd February 2012

It has been reported by Gamblingcompliance.com that Germany’s Schleswig-Holstein region has received queries regarding online gambling licenses from 86 gambling operators.  However, the incumbent government is today busy with rallying its parliamentarians to see off a repealing bill submitted to the Schleswig-Holstein parliament by the opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD) last November. The bill proposes to repeal the recently adopted Gambling Act and pave the way for Schleswig-Holstein to join the much more restrictive regulation plans of the so called “E15”, Germany’s other 15 states.

Even if the repealing bill is adopted, it is yet doubtful whether or not the E15’s proposed inter-state treaty will see the light of day. A lot will depend on the European Commission’s opinion which is expected shortly. If the European Commission determines that the E15’s proposal is not in line with EU law in a number of areas then that group’s plans might be pushed back to the drawing board. In that scenario it is not unthinkable that Schleswig Holstein would rejoin the fray with a view to finding a compromise that is acceptable to all 16 German states.

It should be recalled that currently the “E15’s” proposals include issuing only 20 online betting licenses and taxing licensees at 5% of turnover. That contrasts with Schleswig-Holstein’s law which does provide for a cap on the number of licenses and under which licensees will be taxed at the rate of 20% of gross gaming revenue.  Schleswig-Holstein had intended to issue first licenses by March 1 2012 but it is unclear at best whether that target can still be achieved.

For further information contact James Scicluna via email to james.scicluna@whpartners.eu

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