Darmstadt Council prepares first igaming blocking orders

27 February 2020

The Regional Council of Darmstadt, the body handling Germany’s federal sports betting licensing process, is preparing to take action to stamp out unlicensed activity in the market.

As reported by iGamingBusiness.com earlier this week, the Council has received almost 30 licence applications, with a further 20 operators signalling their intention to apply.

Without giving an exact date as to when, it said it was preparing to issue the first licences. Should these 50 companies secure licences, it said, around 99% of sports betting activity in Germany would be channelled into the legal market.

This will be accompanied by efforts to stamp out unlicensed activity, with all those that have not yet applied for a licence liable to be prosecuted. Peter Beuth, Minister of the Interior for Hesse, in which Darmstadt is located, has already warned that the state will not hesitate to crack down on those that attempt to ignore the third amended State Treaty on Gambling.

These are likely to be accompanied by payment blocking orders to stop German banks processing transactions to and from these illegal sites, issued by Niedersachsen.

The Council has contacted around 100 operators to inform them of the licensing process, and to warn that they will face blocking orders should they fail to apply for certification.

This has already seen 10 stop targeting Germany, it said, while it is preparing to launch enforcement action against an unspecified number of others.

While the third amended Treaty came into effect from 1 January 2020, after years of delays and legal challenges, it will only be in place until 30 June, 2021.

After this date it will be replaced by the Glücksspielneuregulierungstaatsvertrag (GlüNeuRStV), which will legalise online poker and casino for the first time, though under strict and controversial conditions.

Discussions on the GlüNeuRStV are ongoing behind the scenes, with a view to finalising the regulations at a meeting of the state Minister-Presidents on 5 March.