Germany’s Thüringia proposes monopoly on online table games

Thüringia wants to offer exclusive rights for online table games.
Thüringia wants to offer exclusive rights for online table games.

A bill submitted to the European Commission would introduce operating conditions for the online table games.

Germany.- The central German state of Thüringia has submitted proposed amendments of its 2004 Casino Law to the European Commission (EC) for approval.

The proposed Thüringian Law on Casino and Online Casino (ThürSpbkOCG) would introduce a monopoly on online table games, something that is permitted under Germany’s new federal gambling legislation.

It proposes to issue ten-year exclusive licences for online table games, which would be clearly distinguished from online slots. The likely operator would be the state lottery Lotto Thüringen, and the bill notes that such a move would generate extra income for the state.

Germany’s third Inter-state Treaty on Gambling (GlüNeuRStV), which came into force on July 1, permitted the issuing of online casino licences for slots but allows individual states to have control over online table games in their territories – a decision taken in a bid to protect state lottery operators.

Each state may issue the same number of online table games licences as land-based casino licences, but states like Thüringia that have no land-based casinos may give sole rights to their state lottery.

The bill submitted to the EC states: “The approval of virtual slot machine games under a system of permits for private providers … makes it necessary to limit the online casino offerings and organise them in a monopoly.”

It claims a monopoly approach is necessary because online table games had an “increased risk of manipulation” because the organiser is also the banker and so applicants would need to provide a high level of provisional detail to obtain exclusive rights. The bill is now in a standstill period until February 24.

Many observers and operators have suggested that the rules of Germany’s newly regulated igaming market will make it uncompetitive and push players to the black market.

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