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German State Luring Online Gambling Operators

21 September 2011 by admin

germany3After one German state broke with the other 15 on online gambling regulation, it is poised to become the next big gambling hub of Europe. Opponents are calling Schleswig-Holstein the “Las Vegas of the North,” even though it’s a state while Vegas is a city and it is not north of Las Vegas (though it is the northernmost German state).

Earlier this year, the European Union’s highest court ruled that Germany’s betting monopoly violated EU rules. To be in compliance, they have to liberalize the market and allow competition. Though they are not required to, each of the states normally agrees to a treaty on gambling so that each state’s laws are the same. That treaty will end this December and the states are negotiating a new one. The other 15 states want a nationwide online gambling framework, but last week one state broke from the pack.

By a slim 46 to 45 vote, the state of Schleswig-Holstein voted to regulate online gambling at the local level. That allows them to adopt more generous rules than those proposed by the other states for the new treaty, which many online casinos in the industry have called too restrictive and bad for business. As a result of passing their own regulation that is more enticing for gambling operators, many think that Schleswig-Holstein will become a major European gambling hub.

Stefan Zenker, a spokesman for betting company Jaxx SE, told Businessweek that he wants to “make the same business as we do now, just we do it in Germany, instead of in Malta.” Betfair and bwin.Party are two major online gambling sites that have criticized the proposed German regulations. Both have shown interest in getting into Schleswig-Holstein as a base for their German operations.

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