Germany: operators lose challenge against casino – sports betting separation

Betting operators argued that they were being unfairly treated.
Betting operators argued that they were being unfairly treated.

Betting operators located in the same building as a casino or gaming hall in Baden-Württemberg will have to move.

Germany.- Operators have lost their challenges against a rule that prevents them from offering sports betting in the same building as a casino or gaming arcade in Baden-Württemberg. The state’s Constitutional Court has rejected two challenges brought by betting operators in Karlsruhe and Rastatt.

The court rejected claims that the separation of casino gambling and betting breached constitutional guarantees of professional freedom and violated principles of equality and effective legal protection. The decision means that betting shops that are in the same building as a gaming hall will have to relocate.

The court said that the limits on professional freedom in this case were justified and proportionate because they served the “reasonable purpose of the common good” by aiming to mitigate gambling addiction. It said that it was right to discourage players from engaging in two types of gambling in quick succession

As for the principle of equality, the court acknowledged that the law treats different operators unequally by requiring the betting operator rather than the gaming hall or casino operator to move. However, it denied the suggestion that this violates the general principle, ruling that it was necessary because of practical matters. It said that gaming halls were more established and their investments in their location more substantial than those of betting operations.

The court added that since sports betting businesses operated without licences until recently, investments had been made at the company’s risk. The current rule is transitional. In future, whichever operator is at a location first will have priority.

Gambling venue distance rules in Berlin

Last month, Berlin’s administrative court dismissed an appeal from operators against the city’s minimum distance requirement for gambling venues. The German capital introduced a new law in 2020 that imposed a minimum 500m distance between gaming halls and betting shops.

Betting shop operators, who were not named in proceedings, had complained that they are prejudiced by the rules, which limit the possibility of establishing sports betting outlets. The State Office for Citizens and Regulatory Affairs (LABO) has blocked planning permission for several betting venues as a result of the rules.

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gambling regulation sports betting