In Germany, the Darmstadt Administrative Court has halted the licensing process for sports betting.
The court made this decision following complaints from an Austrian operator. They argued that procedures were both discriminatory and opaque.
It has been reported that the pause in processing applications will last until further notice.
Legislators are currently determining the regulations that will form the German State Treaty on Gaming, coming into force next year. In the meantime, stop-gap licences were supposed to be handed out from the beginning of January 2020.
It was reported that the state of Hesse had received 30 licence applications as of February, with another 20 operators expressing their interest in obtaining one.
While Hesse began the licensing process in January, none have yet been handed out.
The German Sports Betting Association (DSWV) has expressed their disappointment at how things have panned out so far. President Matthias Dahms’ thoughts on the matter are below.
“The decision of the court is a big blow to our members. Even though we were promised concessions by the legislator back in 2012, an early approval, which should have been made possible by the State Treaty on Gaming, which has been in effect since the beginning of the year, is now once again in the stars.
“It is particularly annoying that there could have been permits for a long time. The Gambling College has not been able to reach an agreement for weeks, even though decisions that were ready for decision were on the table. This body of 16 officials from the state ministries is responsible for the final release of the permits.”
Coming face-to-face with an “avoidable” situation
Dahms continued by talking about how the situation was unfair on the individuals who have been working to process licences. He was also disappointed that applicants so far have nothing to show for their efforts.
“Sports betting providers in Germany are once again denied access to a regulated market and thus legal certainty”, he continued.
“The applicants have once again invested a lot of effort and energy into the process and prepared for the regulated market.
“I also feel sorry for the employees in the Hessian Ministry of the Interior and the Darmstadt Regional Council, who have been very committed in the past few months to finally make the approval process a success. We hope that the authorities can continue to issue permits quickly.”
A lengthy process
Germany is currently in lockdown due to the spread of Covid-19, meaning that it might be a while before applications are processed again.
As far as the permanent State Treaty is concerned, the country’s 16 Federal States must ratify the legislation. Should this happen, it will then be presented in front of the European Commission.
Drafted laws were criticised by many industry stakeholders and despite this, little changed on the approved version. One restriction included in-play betting being limited to ‘next goalscorer’ and ‘final result’. Elsewhere, monthly depositing caps will be imposed.
Affiliate marketing would also effectively be snuffed out.