German State Treaty reaches 13-state ratification mark

Expanded gambling legislation in Germany has edged closer to becoming a reality, having met the required 13-state ratification mark. 

Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein both ratified the treaty, bringing meaning that all but three of the country’s Länder have now done so. 

The legislation had already been given the green light by the Minister-Presidents in the country late last year. 

Saxony passes the bill, but with opposition

The Glücksspielneuregulierungstaatsvertrag (GlüNeuRStV) passed in Saxony, this was by no means universal. Left-leaning parties did not give their approval, and neither did the right-wing Alternative für Deutschland (AfD).

Saxony will be the location of Germany’s federal gambling authority, should the treaty now go through. It’s expected that this will take two years to build before it goes live. 

The Deutscher Sportwettenverband (DSWV) tried to force tax changes to online sports and poker through the debate on legislation in Saxony. It argued that the proposed 5.3% rate on turnover was too high. 

The DSWV was concerned that because of the proposed rate, companies wouldn’t be able to generate large enough returns. As a result, unregulated operators could benefit. 

However, their attempts were to no avail. 

Schleswig-Holstein also ratifies legislation 

Online casino gaming is already legal in Schleswig-Holstein, which is Germany’s northernmost state. But it will join the Treaty after giving its approval. 

Schleswig-Holstein opted to go their own way with gambling legislation in 2012, and Interior Minister Sabine Sütterlin-Waack believes this was the right decision. 

Sütterlin-Waack said: 

“We are now considered pioneers. Our path in gambling has proved to be correct.

“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.” 

Online casino operators must adhere to restrictions 

The unified gambling legislation will have a variety of limits for online casino operators. Websites must put a €1 per spin stake limit on all slots games. There must also be an average spin speed of five seconds. 

Table games are also required to be offered separately to other online casino gaming services. Each state will also be able to vote whether or not they want their lottery to have a monopoly on this. 

Operators have already been adhering to these new regulations, and were given a three-month window to implement them from October last year. The only connected condition was that they needed to have a self-exclusion database by the start of the transition period.

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