German Online Poker Offerings Still Up in the Air

Published Monday, November 12, 2012 -

Germany has been trying hard to buck the trend in Europe and maintain its hold on the online gambling monopoly it possesses. Germany has a major issue underway that is keeping the big online gambling companies wondering whether or not they should fight or fly the jurisdiction before too much time and money are invested.

The European Commission has been putting a great deal of effort promoting free e-commerce that is fair to all members of the Union. In the case of German online gambling rules, this effort is being eroded by the independent attitude that persists in that Nation. The State Treaty on Online Gaming had two hold outs, North Rhine Westphalia, which has just voted in favour of the treaty and Schleswig-Holstein which is expected to go that route soon. The State Treaty mandates a 5% tax on every wager which for many operators is unacceptable.

During the passing of the Treaty last July online sports gambling was legalized but kept online poker prohibited. The European Court of Justice has said the rules passed by the German government are in violation of the European Union’s e-commerce mandate. The new coalition government in Schleswig-Holstein was aiming to sign the State Treaty but has found it does not have the legal base to do so. The German Monopolies Commission has been very critical of the State Treaty on Online Gambling. Its concerns reveal that that the Treaty breaches EU law and it fails in the efforts to steer gamblers away from illegal gambling websites.

The Commission also says the current Treaty agreement does not comply with German Constitutional Law. The EU Internal Markets and Services Commissioner Michel Barnier wants the governments in the Union to comply with the goals set out by the European Commission and if those nations do not they will be subject to enforcement proceedings. Reformed laws regarding the legality of online poker and sports betting in Germany may be a long time coming.

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