Germany Struggles With Online Gambling Laws

Published Monday, June 15, 2015 -
Germany Struggles With Online Gambling Laws

The European Union has been struggling to harmonize the laws concerning online gambling and has run into numerous obstacles in the process. One very controversial situation involves Germany’s Interstate Treaty on Gambling which has been causing a stir in legal circles since introduced in 2012. It has been suggested that the Treaty not only violates laws established by the European Union but fails to achieve its own objectives. According to two legal experts Prof. Dr. Hans Dieter Jarass and Prof. Dr. Gregor Kirchhof who wrote independent legal opinions on the Treaty and the Gambling Council they maintain that the Treaty is flawed.

Just a month ago a court in Germany found that the online sports betting licensing process in the jurisdiction violated several laws and European Union edicts. 20 licencees were grated following the passage of the federal Interstate Gambling Treaty in 2012.  21 unsuccessful applicants appealed the granting that was announced by the Hesse Ministry in September 2014. Recently the Administrative Court of Wiesbaden released its ruling on a challenge and determined  that the licensing process did contravene numerous laws, raised transparency concerns and violated EU edicts against restrictions on the freedom to provide services within the Union.

The Court’s ruling must still be ratified by the Higher Administrative Court however there are predictions already surfacing that the federal government will be required to restart the licensing process.

Prof. Dr. Jarass has said the creation of a lottery monopoly is subject to “increased justification requirements” under the Treaty and Jarass does not think these requirements have been met in Germany.

“The state lottery companies spent around 50 percent more on advertising in 2013 than in the previous year.” Jarass said, “The objective of reducing gambling addiction has thus clearly not been achieved.” Jarass continued, “As the lottery monopoly in its present form violates EU law, the relevant provisions of the Interstate Treaty on Gambling are not applicable.”



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