Bet-at-home Wins German Operating License

After years of legal uncertainty, Betclic Everest brand bet-at-home has been granted a sports betting license in Germany by the Regional Council of Darmstadt. An April attempt to block the move by Austrian betting operator Vierklee was recently thrown out by a court. The brand joins fifteen other licensed bookmakers currently operating in the market.

The Mathildenhöhe neighborhood in the German city of Darmstadt, with the Russian Orthodox Church of St. Maria Magdalena featured.

Betclic Everest brand bet-at-home has successfully won a sports betting license to operate in Germany, following years of legal hurdles. ©lapping/Pixabay

Germany’s Gambling Market Continues To Grow

As of writing, Bet-at-home has yet to be added to the Regional Council’s whitelist of approved betting operators. Nevertheless, the brand said its application was approved on November 2nd, with chief executive Franz Ömer greatly welcoming the decision. The Regional Council of Darmstadt is a government body that oversees betting licensing nationwide under Germany’s Third State Treaty on Gambling.

Fifteen other licensed operators are currently active in the market, such as Bet365, Tipico, Tipwin, the Cashpoint Malta subsidiary, and four GVC Holdings brands. The current diverse betting landscape comes as a result of a wave of licenses issued by the Regional Council in October, effectively ending a long legal stalemate in Germany’s gambling regulations.

Additional operators part of this recent wave also include Novomatic’s Admiral Sportwetten, Jaxx, Greenvest Betting’s and BetVictor, the latter of which is engaged in a branding partnership with Germany’s main tabloid Bild. Along with the newly included Bet-at-home, these fifteen licensees account for over 75% of the country’s sports betting market, based on the operator’s results from last year.

Recently ratified legislation signals that the German online gambling market is set to expand even further in the near future, opening up the virtual space to all forms of betting. In addition to online casino games such as poker and slot games, this newly regulated market will legalize all sports betting nationwide.

Once implemented by the target date of 1st of July 2021, these latest regulations will mark an end to the current transition period which has allowed for the fifteen aforementioned operators to be granted licenses in recent months.

Lawsuit Dismissal Paves Way For New Licenses

A legal challenge mounted by the Austrian bookmaker Vierklee in April against Germany’s sports betting licensing process resulted in a temporary freeze on the issuing of new licenses. 

Chief among Vierklee’s complaints was that the process favored companies that had previously been active in the betting market, putting operators with privileged information at a higher advantage than those without. The last-minute ruling generated widespread dismay in the betting scene, particularly from Germany’s leading sportsbook operator the Deutscher Sportwettenverband (DSWV).

A sudden end to the legal saga arrived in October, when the Regional Council of Darmstadt revealed that it had granted fifteen new permits — essentially dismissing the April lawsuit. This move ushered in a wave of newly licensed brands operating in the regulated gambling sphere, with Bet-at-home now also joining the fray. Legal challenges to the betting process and accompanying Third State Treaty on Gambling date as far back as 2012, which the issuing of new licenses now puts an official end to.

Third State Treaty Regulations Continue To Apply

The third amended State Treaty on Gambling, ratified in 2019, limits customers to a monthly betting limit of €1,000, with a small number of customers enjoying increased limits of up to €10,000 or even €30,000. Additionally, deposits will be limited until players successfully pass a verification procedure. Finally, operators must also integrate into the national self-exclusion system known as OASIS and betting markets must be approved by the Regional Council ahead of implementation.

Such regulations, along with a highly fluctuating market due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, do not seem to have had much of an effect on Bet-at-home’s projected earnings. In August, the brand indicated that it is on track to reach its full-year targets, despite a fall in earnings and revenue in the first half of this year. Bet-at-home’s additional withdrawal from newly regulated markets earlier this year, such as Switzerland, also served to cast doubt on the brand’s yearly performance, at least initially.

Germany’s gross betting and gaming revenue for the first half of the year totaled €62.3m, which is down a significant 12.4% from €71.1m in the first half of 2019.

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A pair of dice and three stacks of gambling chips resting on the open surface of a laptop computer.

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