DSWV calls for transition period for German online casino

11 February 2020

Members of the German operator body the Deutscher Sportwettenverband (DSWV) have recommended the federal states remove the need for sports betting licensees to shut down their online casino offerings until the new State Treaty comes into effect.

While the Glücksspielneuregulierungstaatsvertrag (GlüNeuRStV) is due to legalise online casino games for the first time - albeit with strict controls - from 1 July, 2021, the DSWV argued that this will only be effective if transitional regulations are developed.

This, it said, should allow licensed sportsbook operators to continue offering gaming products in the period that the third amended State Treaty is in place, to 30 June, 2021.

The transitional model would ensure existing casino players continue to gamble via reliable providers, rather than leaving them to seek out black market alternatives, DSWV president Mathias Dahms said.

“In the meantime, customers will not stop playing and should be able to do so in a protected area of ​​reliable providers,” he added.

Hesse, the state responsible for the licensing process under the third State Treaty, has been very clear that operators must shut down any casino products in order to secure a sports betting licence. Those that fail to do so face regualtory action, and payment blocking measures, it has warned.

The current draft of the GlüNeuRStV proposes imposing a €1 per spin slot stake cap, with each spin to last at least last at least five seconds, no autoplay function allowed, and a prohibition on slot jackpots. Slots must also be offered separately to other casino products, under a separate licence, with states given the option to extend their lotteries’ monopoly on draw-based games to products such as roulette and blackjack.

The draft also maintains the third State Treaty’s controls on sports betting, such as limiting in-play to betting on the final result or next scorer. The DSWV said that as a result, concrete improvements were “particularly necessary” for live betting - something it had previously flagged.

It also called into question the new player monitoring regime to be set up under the GlüNeuRStV, warning that it could infringe on data protection regulations.

Ultimately, the association concluded, the new federal regulatory authority to be created under the  legislation should have the power to amend and adapt regulations in order to keep pace with a “dynamic and technology driven market”.

"A rigid set of rules that cannot be changed in the next few years will neither help player protection nor will it push back the black market that will continue to exist in the future," Dahms said.

However, Dahms still hailed the Treaty as the “first step towards modern, market-compliant gaming regulation in Germany”.

Discussions on the GlüNeuRStV are set to continue until 5 March, when the next meeting of the Minister-Presidents of Germany’s 16 states are set to meet in Berlin. This meeting is likely to see lawmakers finalise the regulations, before submitting them to the European Commission for approval as it prepares to implement the new regulations from 2021.

Late last week the DSWV revealed that consumers in German spent approximately €9.3bn (£7.86bn/$10.16bn) on sports betting in 2019, a 21% year-on-year increase. Based on figures from the Federal Ministry of Finance, the association noted that operators paid a total of €500m in sports betting tax during the 12 months to 31 December 2019.