EGBA lauds positive development but issues warning on German proposals

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The European Gaming and Betting Association has welcomed progress made on Germany’s gambling regulations, but warned that certain proposals could be “detrimental and counterproductive”.

The announcement follows years of uncertainty across the region with the interior minister of Hesse, the state in charge of licensing, indicating that online gaming would be prohibited as part of fulfilling the temporary betting licence obligations as recently as December.

However, the new announcement confirms that all 16 states have agreed in principle that the permanent regime will include casino and poker, and not just betting as originally thought.

If agreed at the Minister-Presidents meeting on March 5, 2019, the new treaty is scheduled to replace the existing second state treaty and come into force on July 1, 2021.

Setting an objective to regulate its gambling activity in an effective way to ensure a legal, regulated gambling environment, particularly in the online sector, the EGBA warns that this could be particularly challenging given the “very low channelling rates”. In 2017, the Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics calculated that Germany had a channelling rate of only 1.8 per cent.

The Brussels-based trade association comments that it “welcomes the progress made and encourages the German authorities to ensure the new regulation will achieve the multiple objectives of consumer protection, state tax revenues and regulatory oversight of gambling”. 

A warning is issued concerning some of the proposals however, with the EGBA stressing that live betting restrictions, limits on advertising and curbs on player account activity would be detrimental and counterproductive to the intentions of the regulation.  

Maarten Haijer, secretary general of the EGBA, who urges the authorities to reconsider their approach, stated: “This is a positive development towards bringing Germany’s gambling regulation into the 21st century. The challenge will be to deliver a new regulation which is fit for the digital age we live in, which provides a safer gambling environment for consumers and enables a well-regulated and well-channelled market. 

“We look forward to providing formal comments to the proposals in due course and continuing a constructive dialogue with the German authorities.”