January 7, 2019 3 min read


German State of Hesse to Seek Individual Gambling Regulation

Germany’s gambling laws are about to get shaken up by strict individualism should a federal pact fails to be established, the German State of Hesse has cautioned.

Hesse to Go It Alone in Regulating Gambling in Germany

The German State of Hesse has expressed concerns over the delays in introducing new gambling legislation on a federal level. Should the mulled pact fail to be established, Hesse would be forced to seek a way to regulate its own gambling industry, the state has warned. The federal government has time until the end of 2019 to hammer out a gaming law that could apply to the territory of the entire country.

The warning came before Christmas when the ruling parties, the Christian Democratic Union and Greens, outlined their priorities for 2019, noting that all gaming activities should come under the regulation of a federal network that has been created with the customer’s best interest in mind. Hesse has been known to seek independence in regulating its gambling market before.

Hesse lawmakers announced that other states and the federal government have to reach an agreement by 2019 or the state will begin to deliberate how to best regulate the industry on its own, similar to the state-by-state fragmentation in the U.S. Hesse will not wait for 2019 to finish to begin debating its own gaming regulatory framework, with the Parliament expected to discuss the matter as early as January 18, when the legislator body will reconvene.

Germany’ Individualism Relates to EU Gaming Rules

While Germany is a champion of European law, one question remains – is European law elaborate enough to be applied in full? The 2012 State Treaty on Gambling has turned out to fall short of the mark, German and European lawmakers have established, providing online businesses with an arbitrary number of licenses and yet not quite clear on whether these businesses can run a number of important products.

Concerns over the regulation of the industry at this point are not a random event either. Some states have already been distinctly individualistic in how they have been handling their own gaming industries. For example, the state of Schleswig-Holstein has issued a number of licenses. Schleswig-Holstein was also one of the states that refused to sign for a federal regulatory framework.

However, in the case of Schleswig-Holstein, it wasn’t a protest against the federal law as much as a desire to regulate the gambling of the state on one’s own, as per the wishes of the new lawmakers appointed back in 2017.

Back in 2016, Hesse did try to introduce temporary permits that would have allowed states to accept punters across the borders. However, Hesse’s temporary grace period was struck down in court with the permits deemed invalid. In August 2018, Schleswig-Holstein introduced a toleration process for sports betting.

While the talks for a federal framework are still very much on, the states of Hesse, Schleswig-Holstein, and even Bavaria are openly keen to introduce their own frameworks. So much that a federal framework may not be needed after all.


Simon is a freelance writer who specializes in gambling news and has been an author in the poker/casino scene for 10+ years. He brings valuable knowledge to the team and a different perspective, especially as a casual casino player.

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