Sports Book License Applications Still Welcomed in Germany

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The sports betting license process in Germany will continue despite being legally blocked by the court, as the licensing body, the Darmstadt Regional Council, announced last week it would continue to accept new sports book applications.

Third Amendment

The third amendment of the State Treaty on Gambling, effective January 1, 2020, tasked the Darmstadt Regional Council with administering the process of licensing of sports books, until July 1, 2021, when the new federal sports betting framework that all 16 states agreed upon during a meeting in Berlin will be implemented.

The sports betting in Germany, since passing the original State Treaty on Gambling in 2012, has been in a state of limbo from a legal point of view, and when the time for issuing the first licenses was fast approaching and there were more than 30 applications, the process was challenged for lacking transparency. Subsequently, the Darmstadt Administrative Court decided the appeal filed by the Austrian sports book Vierklee had grounds and blocked the issuing of licenses.

Despite ruling that the licensing process was really lacking in terms of transparency, even adding that the lack of a uniform date for launching operations for licensed sports books was discriminatory, the court did not state clearly what consequences besides blocking the issuing process its ruling would have on the law and whether a re-organization was needed.

New Applications Accepted

This left the door open for the Darmstadt Regional Council to announce that it will continue to accept new applications while awaiting the decision on its appeal to the Kassel Administrative Court. By continuing to accept and review applications, the regulatory body is making provisions to smoothly continue the licensing process from where it stopped, once the higher court ruling is issued. The Darmstadt Regional Council warned, however, that in case the court in Kassel does not rule in its favour, it will not accept liability for any costs incurred by applicants for their applications.

In case the Kassel Administrative Court ruling supports the ruling of the Darmstadt Administrative Court, it will be a further blow to the sports betting ecosystem in the country, marred by problems since the day of its birth. It will even threaten the idea behind the third amendment of the State Treaty on Gambling, to provide the transition towards the establishment of the federal sports betting framework that would also legalize casino and poker, placing question marks whether sports books will ever be able to accept legal bets until then.

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