EC prolongs standstill on new German gambling laws

The standstill has been extended to September 18.
The standstill has been extended to September 18.

The European Commission has extended the standstill period after receiving criticism of the proposed legislation.

Germany.- The European Commission has extended the standstill period on Germany’s proposed new gambling laws after several stakeholders submitted concerns. 

The Commission has extended until September 18 the deadline for feedback on the proposed legislation.

Several stakeholders have already responded with criticism.

Malta is known to have submitted a response, the details of which have not yet been published, while the German online casino body, Deutscher Online Casinoverband (DoCV), the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA), internet businesses association Eco and Banking association Deutsche Kreditwirtschaft have all published concerns over details of the legislation.

The new State Treaty on Gambling, or Glücksspielneuregulierungstaatsvertrag, was submitted to the EC for approval in May.

It expands on the current third state treaty, which only allows sports betting online.

The new treaty, which is due to come into force on July 1 2021, adds other forms of online gaming, including poker, casino and slots, but with tight restrictions on spending limits, advertising and how games are presented. 

The legislation states slots and other casino games such as table games cannot be offered together, with state lotteries able to claim monopolies over table games. Gambling advertising, meanwhile, will be restricted to between 9pm and 6am.  

The DoCV has contended that the restrictions risk limiting the attractiveness of the new regulated market for players. 

It argued that the general public consider slots to be casino games and expect to find them offered in the same place. 

It also claimed the decision to give first call on table games to state lottery operators would create an incoherent hybrid private-public system.

The group also questioned the workability of the rules for gambling advertising, particularly online, noting that anything posted on social media during the permitted time slot would still be visible after the watershed.

And while it said it agreed that players should be able to set voluntary spending limits, the DoCV also raised concerns with the seven-day cooling off period outlined in the treaty, arguing that players could take their gambling to unlicensed sites while waiting for the time to pass until they could raise the limits again.

The IBIA, meanwhile, has criticised the treaty’s continuation of restrictions on in-play wagering in sports betting.

It told the EC there was no evidence that in-play betting presents more risk in terms of causing gambling problems, and that a ban could increase the risk of manipulation of sports by pushing in-play wagering to offshore operators.

The treaty’s monthly spending limit of €1,000 has been criticised in several submissions including by academics from the Technical University of Dresden, who questioned the selective imposition of a limit for online gaming that does not also apply to land-based gambling or lotteries.

The academics argued that the treaty’s player protection measures needed to be modified to cover all products, including lottery. 

The treaty has also been criticised by the banking association Deutsche Kreditwirtschaft, which has argued that its measures for blocking payment transactions via illegal sites are too wide and would demand too many resources from financial institutions. It also claimed they were in contravention of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union.

Eco, a Germany association of internet businesses, also criticised the measures against unlicensed sites, saying that the scope of powers to order ISPs to block such sites contravened principles of internet neutrality.

The EGBA has also publicly criticised the German gambling legislation

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