GVC Removes PayPal as Payment Option across Germany-Facing Casino Brands

The Isle of Man gambling powerhouse has decided to remove PayPal as available payment option for casino players in Germany

Gambling giant GVC Holdings has announced that PayPal will no longer be available as a payment method for all of its casino products in Germany. In an emailed statement to its affiliate partners, the company has said that its German casino customers will not be able to transfer funds via PayPal from Wednesday, December 19.

The popular online payment option will not be available across all of GVC’s Germany-facing casino brands, it has also become known.

While the Isle of Man-headquartered company has not provided any information as to why it has decided to remove PayPal as a payment method in Germany, its decision is likely to have a lot to do with the country’s complicated online gambling regulatory situation.

Germany has been trying to adopt a uniform gambling legislation that would allow international companies to obtain local licenses and provide sports betting services in a regulated environment for nearly a decade now. However, its efforts have repeatedly been slammed by local courts and EU regulators as ones that violated key EU principles for the free movement of services within the bloc.

Germany – GVC’s Largest Geographical Market

Germany has cemented itself as GVC’s largest geographical market, particularly after the company acquired bwin.party Digital Entertainment early in 2016. GVC CEO Kenny Alexander said during an investor call earlier this year that bwin was the best known sports gambling brand in the German market and that local customers were so familiar with it that they treated it as a national brand, not an international one.

Mr. Alexander also commented on the future of Germany’s regulatory environment during that same call. He said that he has “never been more confident” that the country would finally implement a well-functioning sports betting legislation. He added that German states have also been evaluating the regulation of online casino and poker. The two activities were prominently missing from the multiple previous regulation efforts made by local lawmakers over the years.

It is also important to note that, as figures show, Germany has been among the main drivers of growth for GVC. According to the gambling giant’s third quarter trading update, its revenue in Germany recorded a 30% increase from the same period of 2017.

Germany’s Interstate Treaty on Gambling

Germany first introduced the so-called Interstate Treaty on Gambling back in 2012, hoping to reorganize its market in a manner that would allow international operators to provide sports betting services in a regulated environment.

However, the Treaty caused a massive backlash due to the fact that it capped the number of licenses that would be issued to just 20 and did not include provisions for the regulation of online casino games and poker. The piece of legislation was slammed by the EU Commission, which argued that it failed to follow key principles for the free movement of services.

An amended version of the Treaty was introduced in 2017. But instead of removing the cap on licenses altogether, it only raised it from 20 to 40. And it still did not contain provisions for the regulation of the online casino and poker sectors.

The Treaty had to be approved by all 16 German states in order to take effect. However, lawmakers in the state of Schleswig-Holstein decided last fall to opt out of the Treaty, thus dooming its implementation. State leaders also revealed that they were working on their own piece of legislation that would, among other things, authorize the provision of online casino games and poker.

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