Germany’s Schleswig-Holstein State Votes Down Latest Interstate Treaty on Gambling

Germany’s Interstate Treaty on Gambling has hit another setback after the Schleswig-Holstein government officially voted down on Friday the amendments that were implemented to the legislative piece back in March.

Germany’s northernmost state also revealed plans for the introduction of its own gambling regulation framework that would include expanded online gambling options.

The Interstate Treaty on Gambling was first presented back in 2012. In general, it proposed the legalization and regulation of online sports betting services within Germany’s borders. The piece of legislation needed approval from the governments of all 16 states, in order to come into force. Schleswig-Holstein was the last state to confirm compliance with it.

The country’s new law back then was highly contested for placing a limit on the number of interested operators that could enter the local market. Under the treaty, only 20 online sports betting licenses were to be issued. That cap resulted in the European Commission declaring the regulatory framework one that violated EU principles for the free distribution of services across the union.

In March 2017, the Interstate Treaty on Gambling was amended slightly, with German lawmakers being hopeful that the changes introduced would finally please EU authorities and the market would be regulated in 2018. Instead of completely removing the controversial limit on the number of licensees allowed, the legal piece only extended the previously imposed cap to 40 from 20.

In June, the new Schleswig-Holstein government indicated that it was not particularly content with the amendments implemented and that it would probably not approve the treaty in its latest form.

What Are Schleswig-Holstein Issues with the Intestate Treaty on Gambling?

Schleswig-Holstein politicians said on Friday that despite the amendments introduced, the treaty still violated EU laws. Legislators also pointed out that the state wanted to pay special attention to responsible gambling controls that would protect vulnerable people from gambling addiction and other related problems. However, they had not seen the topic being given greater consideration in the Interstate Treaty on Gambling, as pointed in a Friday press release on the government’s official website.

Schleswig-Holstein has also repeatedly pointed out over the years that sports betting should not be the only online gambling option to be regulated in Germany. State officials have thus called for the legalization and regulation of online casino and poker.

Exiting the Interstate Treaty on Gambling, Schleswig-Holstein has said that it would rather introduce its own gambling law, one that would comply with EU regulations and would allow expanded online gaming and betting options.

The amended Interstate Treaty on Gambling needed approval from all 16 states in order to be eventually implemented in early 2018. However, with Schleswig-Holstein’s refusal to approve its provisions, it is unclear what the future holds for Germany’s online gambling legalization effort.

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