Cap on German sports betting license ruled illegal

The Administrative Court of Wiesbaden’s ruling opens up the German market to the EU.

A court in Germany deemed illegal the 20-license cap on sports betting licenses under the country’s Interstate Treaty on Gambling.

Germany.- A German court has ruled that the 20-license cap on sports betting licenses under the nation’s Interstate Treaty on Gambling is illegal, a move that opens up the market to the rest of the European Union.

The 5th Chamber of the Administrative Court of Wiesbaden ruled that the restriction to twenty licenses “constitutes an infringement of European law standards, namely against the freedom to provide services (Art. 56 TFEU).”

The Treaty for European Union (TFEU) prevails over state and federal law in all EU member states. Any national or regional parliament that approves legislation in contravention of the TFEU is legally unable to enforce those laws.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has determined that operators cannot be penalised for breaching national laws which are not consistent with the TFEU. Now the German Interstate Treaty (Glücksspielstaatsvertrag) is no longer enforceable and there are no other laws governing sports betting, operators licensed in other EU member states are finally able to legally offer services to German clients.

If Germany does not amend the treaty to align it with the TFEU, the EU Commission will take it to court. The court filing against Germany is expected by the end of this month and there is no possibility of Germany fixing the treaty by then. The Wiesbaden court ruling has proved that any cap will be deemed illegal, since there is no rationale that can be justified by the TFEU duty of consumer protection.