Hesse receives 11 sportsbook licence applications

14 January 2020

The Ministry of the Interior in the German state of Hesse has revealed that it has received eleven applications for sports betting licences, with a further seven operators making binding commitments to make submissions.

Minister of the Interior Peter Beuth said that according to the current status of applications, at least 75% of operators active in the German sports betting market were intending to apply for a licence.

“This is a good sign for player protection in Germany,” Beuth said.

The announcement comes a month after the Regional Council of Darmstadt, the body responsible for managing the application process, issued a warning that unlicensed activity would not be tolerated, with no companies having submitted their applications at the time. Its warning had been heeded, the minister claimed.

However, Beuth also stressed that the implementation of the third amended State Treaty on Gambling, ratified by lawmakers in March 2019, was only a short-term effort. Negotiations for a long-term regulatory model, which were due to begin last year, will continue into 2020.

To replace the State Treaty after it expires on 30 June, 2021, Hesse is pushing for a system that will allow online casino alongside sport betting, as well as a national self-exclusion system across all product verticals.

It believes that supervision of this expanded market should be handled by a new, dedicated institution. As Hesse, specifically the Regional Council of Darmstadt, has built up signficant knowledge of gambling regulation after being tasked with overseeing the licensing process, Beuth argued that it was the natural base for this new regulatory body.

The minister also noted that progress was being made on negations between the states. However,  he did warn against “over-regulation”, which he said could drive players to unlicensed operators.

“The states must work together to find solutions that protect the player but at the same time represent a regulatory framework that [is viable for the operator],” he said.

Beuth has previously warned that failure to adopt a more liberal regulatory framework by 2021 could force Hesse to break away from Germany’s other 15 states to create its own model.