EGBA hits out at Germany’s 'sluggish' sports betting licence process

1 July 2013

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has hit out at the “sluggish” process of allocating licences for sports betting operators in Germany and called for tougher regulatory controls to be introduced to ensure the terms of the Interstate Treaty of Gambling are enforced.

The latest version of the treaty, designed to allow private providers to accept sports wagers as part of a partial liberalisation of the German gambling industry, came into force on July 1, 2012 after the government came under pressure from the European Court of Justice to alter its approach.

Under the terms of the treaty, the market is open to a maximum of 20 sports betting providers for a period of seven years, but no companies have been awarded a licence by the government so far.

“The procedure selected by federal state leaders to issue the 20 sports betting licenses does not meet European requirements,” EGBA stated.

“It has failed to provide candidates with clear, transparent and reliable information concerning the tender criteria to be used.

“This has led to numerous lawsuits by providers and several postponements of licence awards by the administration. It remains unclear when exactly the licenses will be granted, and even the authorities expect up to 80 proceedings, involving both unsuccessful applicants and licence holders. In addition, online poker and casino providers are not part of the limited market opening, despite the fact that this segment constitutes a much larger market portion than sports betting.”

EGBA believes that concerns about Germany’s implementation of the treaty can only be resolved if the regulatory approach is completely revised or if the tender procedure is re-launched.

Maarten Haijer, EGBA’s general secretary, added: “Numerous questions concerning sports betting remain unanswered in Germany, despite the fact that the tender procedure has been running for months.

“Even if the allocation is successful, it will result in a market regulation that will bring disadvantages for everyone involved – not only the providers and authorities but also amateur and professional sports and the advertising sector, which are closely dependent on betting providers.

“Germany is a prime example of how a political compromise that no one wishes to disavow can create a very poor procedure. For our members who are active throughout Europe, the German approach is simply incomprehensible against the background of successful European regulations and the continued existence of concerns in terms of European law.”