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Top German Court Upholds Gambling Ban

29 September 2011 by admin

germany3In a blow to the online gambling industry and anyone who wants a liberalized market, Germany’s highest court on Wednesday ruled in favor of the state monopolies. On Wednesday, Germany’s Federal Court of Justice upheld the nation’s ban on private-sector companies operating online gambling sites. The ruling protects the monopolies at the expense of competition and free enterprise.

Currently Germany’s 16 states control the online casino market with their monopolies. Private operators are not allowed to do business in the country and are banned by law. Online gambling operators throughout the world, and particularly in Europe, are pushing for a liberalized market that allows private competition, especially offshore private competition.

The ruling by the Federal Court of Justice can only be overturned by Germany’s constitutional court. The law banning private competition can also be amended or repealed. In the meantime, the 16 states are currently negotiating a gambling treaty. As part of the treaty, they have proposed awarding up to seven licenses for sports betting companies that could operate nationwide.

While Germany’s highest court upheld the monopolies, the European Union’s highest court disagrees. Last year, the European Court of Justice ruled that the state-run monopolies are not compliant with EU rules and said that the industry must be liberalized.

One German state, Schleswig-Holstein, has split from the other 15 states when it comes to the gambling treaty. The state voted to regulate online gambling at the state level and will adopt rules that are more generous than those proposed by the other states. Schleswig-Holstein hopes to become the gambling hub of Germany and is already being called the “Las Vegas of the North.”

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