In March 2020, the German federal states had agreed on a new German Interstate Treaty on Gambling (ISTG 2021), that still needed to be ratified by the individual federal state parliaments. The treaty is now closer to implementation after the states of Schleswig-Holstein and Sachsen ratified it.
A closer implementation, with patience
This legislation, designed to unify Germany’s gambling laws, ratified by the state Minister-Presidents in November 2020, needed 13 of the 16 German states to ratify it to be implemented. With the states of Schleswig-Holstein and Sachsen ratifying the treaty, it has now happened.
However, the process is likely to take two years to be fully operational as the state of Sachsen-Anhalt has to put together a new federal regulatory authority for gambling to oversee the county’s unified laws.
Tax rates, subject of debate
There is still a burning question: How much should gambling operators pay in taxes? A question that is still dividing the country.
Operator association the Deutscher Sportwettenverband (DSWV) urged the parliament to change the rate of taxation being applied to online slots and poker. The proposed 8% for slot machines and 5.3% for poker are deemed too high, which could make the regulated brands struggling to generate returns from the market to the benefit of offshore operators, according to DSWV.
“I am sure that through the trifecta of partial legalisation of online gambling, strict monitoring and consistent regulation, we will succeed […] Together with the other states we can steer gambling into orderly and monitored channels and thus fight the black market”, said state’s Interior Minister Sabine Sütterlin-Waack.
While there is need to iron out some last-minute concerns, since the treaty is ratified by 13 states, not much can prevent the ISTG 2021 from being fully implemented as written in July 2021.