Germany awards first sports betting licences

Germany finally has a regulated sports betting market.
Germany finally has a regulated sports betting market.

In a historic move, the Darmstadt Regional Council has awarded sports betting licences covering 75 per of the German sports betting market.

Germany.- The Regional Council of Darmstadt has awarded its first sports betting licences under Germany’s new transitional gaming agreement announced last month.

It follows years of false starts and legal challenges, with the Darmstadt’s initial launch of licensing for sports betting on January 2 having been interrupted by a legal challenge by Austria’s Vierklee

The council has now issued 15 licences with immediate effect. The first licence went to Gauselmann Group’s Cashpoint brand.

The other approved licensees are bet365, Novomatic’s Admiral Sportwetten, Tipico, IBC Sportsbetting, Greenvest Betting, Tipin, Jaxx, Tipwin, BetVictor, Playtech’s HPYBET and GVC Holdings’ SportingBet, Ladbrokes, bwin and Gamebookers.

Together the 15 licensees represent 75 per cent of Germany’s sports betting market.

Peter Beuth, minister of the interior for the state of Hesse, said the landmark was a major breakthrough after years of uncertainty. 

“This ends a long stalemate in Germany’s regulation of gambling. Going forward, the following applies: Those who adhere to the important rules for the protection of players and minors can also offer legal sports betting.

“Only with a strictly controlled offer can the goals of the Interstate Treaty on Gaming be implemented and the illegal growth of the black market ended. 

“Our goal is not that as many people as possible bet on sports results, but that the players gamble in a state-regulated environment and not be driven towards illegal operators. 

“The Regional Council of Darmstadt has built up a great deal of expertise in the regulation of gambling and will closely monitor the sports betting market.”

Mathias Dahms, president of the German operator association Deutscher Sportwettenverband (DSWV) said: “We are grateful to the responsible Hessian Ministry of the Interior and the Darmstadt Regional Council for always pushing ahead with the approval process in a serious and results-oriented manner, even under difficult political and legal conditions.

“Now, in the constructive exchange between the authorities and providers, the license conditions must be carefully designed and the black market systematically dried up.”

German states agreed last month to allow existing gaming operators to operate ahead of the implementation of the new interstate treaty on gambling next year, provided they begin to observe the treaty’s rules. 

The new licensees are reported to be working with the Regional Council of Darmstadt to agree the timing for the implementation of conditions attached to the new licences.

It is still not clear how long operators will have to adjust to the new restrictions, which include a €1,000 monthly wagering limit and 20 per cent loss limit, but it is expected that they will have to comply by early next year. Bonuses will be limited to €100 per year per customer.

GVC has already announced that the measures could impact on group EBITDA €40m per year.

Tipwin said it was relieved that the period of stalemate and uncertainty had come to an end.

Managing director, Ivica Batinic, and head of legal, Damir Böhm, said in a joint statement: “The granting of the licence promises a great opportunity for everyone involved, whether that’s people, politicians, authorities, providers and consumers.

“It is the first step towards a real and responsible regulation of sports betting in Germany. We hope that this will pave the way for the new GlüStV 2021, further legal improvements and also an effective enforcement against providers who are not willing to regulate.”

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