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German Court Rules For Bwin, Against Monopoly

19 November 2010 by admin

German-FlagIn a courtroom battle that has taken six years to resolve, Germany’s highest court finally ruled in favor of bwin today. The online gambling company had been locked in a dispute with Germany’s lottery monopoly over the right to offer services in the nation.

Back in 2004, the West German Lottery Company – commonly called Westlotto – applied for an injunction against bwin that would bar the company from offering or advertising casino games, lottery or sports betting in Germany. After bwin appealed two rulings by lower courts, the Federal Supreme Court ruled in their favor, denying the injunction.

The Germany lottery monopoly has been challenged before. Earlier this year, foreign competitors challenged the nation’s ban by appealing to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The ECJ ruled that banning foreign competitors violates the European Union rules. Though Germany passed a ban on public games of chance on the internet in 2008, the ECJ stated that since the government allows German lottery companies to operate, they cannot ban competition from foreign operators.

After leaving the courtroom with the injunction successfully quashed, bwin CEO Norbert Teufelberger called for Germany to change with the times and adapt to accept and regulate online gambling coming from multiple sources. He said that Germany needs to develop “modern regulations for online gaming.”

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Since the court ruled that Germany cannot ban foreign operators to protect Westlotto, regulating those foreign gambling websites is the logical next step. According to Teufelberger, “95% of gaming revenues in Germany are generated by unregulated providers.”

If that number is accurate, then the German government has a problem. Their gambling ban has been a total failure at preventing foreign competition. Not only that, but the government is unable to ensure the safety of the websites on which its citizens are playing. They are also losing out on a lot of revenue from taxes, licensing fees and more.

If Germany adopts more modern regulation, they could protect their own interests and those of the German people. Of course, any reputable online casino is already regulated by someone, whether it’s the government in which they reside or an independent party. Germany can either trust that those other regulators are doing a good enough job (which is probably the best thing to do) or take matters into their own hands. They cannot, however, bury their heads in the sand and say that foreign gambling operators can’t do business in Germany.

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