Calls for clampdown on unlicensed gaming in Germany

Germany's new gambling legislation comes into force today.
Germany's new gambling legislation comes into force today.

Major gaming operators have called for a clampdown on unlicensed brands ahead of the launch of the licensed igaming market.

Germany.- Operators have called for Germany to instigate a clampdown on unlicensed gaming as the country’s new gambling legislation comes into effect today (July 1).

The German sports betting association Deutscher Sportwettenverband (DSWV), which represents operators accounting for around 90 per cent of the betting market, fears that the heavy tax burden and strict restrictions on Germany’s new licensed market could benefit the unlicensed sector. 

It’s called for “more activity on the part of the state supervisory authorities,” arguing that since the new regulation imposes unattractive conditions on legal operators, tough sanctions are needed to curb the unlicensed market. 

Germany’s new State Treaty on Gambling comes into force today, legalising online poker, slots and a limited range of table games. It’s been a long journey to get here, with many disputes between Germany’s 16 states along the way.

Even with the legislation now in place and the first new sports betting licences issued, it’s still likely to take up to two years for the regulatory authority to be fully up and running. 

DSWV president Mathias Dahms said: “Now the authorities have to quickly issue permits and severely sanction those who continue to sell without a license. 

“It cannot seem like legal providers are stupid. A market in which some unlicensed companies continue to operate undisturbed harms the political goals of the country and must be prevented by all means. We are calling for more activity on the part of the state supervisory authorities.”

DSWV has warned of players migrating to unlicensed sites since the transition regime began for operators that intend to seek licences in the new licensed market.

The strict restrictions of Germany’s new licensed gaming market include a €1,000 monthly spend limit and a €1 spin limit for slots. The DSWV, meanwhile, has lodged an EU state aid complaint with the European Commission arguing that the 5.3 per cent tax rate on online slots and poker constitutes an unfair advantage for land-based gaming in Germany.

Dahms said: “Today, Germany is finally taking the step that the rest of the EU took a long time ago. However, the State Treaty on Gambling must be further developed in order to eliminate the remaining problems: the artificially limited product selection, cross-provider limits and the excessive taxation must be corrected.”

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