Berlin Signals Approval for New Gambling Treaty

The proposed new gambling treaty in Germany received a boost this week when the Minister of the Interior for the capital Berlin gave official approval for the new federal regulatory framework. The announcement opens the way for mayor Michael Muller to sign the legislation.

Minister Andreas Geisel approved the latest draft of the Glücksspielneuregulierungstaatsvertrag (GlüNeuRStV) at a Berlin Senate hearing on Tuesday, and when it is formally signed, Muller will become one of the first state presidents in the country to ratify it.

There still remain a number of obstacles to the Treaty’s overall passage. It will have to be presented to the city’s House of Representatives for ratification by the Berlin parliament. The GlüNeuRStV will then have to go through the same process in each of Germany’s states, being signed by the head of state, and fully ratified by the state parliament. In total the legislation will need the go-ahead from 13 of the 16 states if it is to come into effect from the end of June 2021.

Before then, some states have planned to implement the Treaty from October 15 this year, under a transitional arrangement, which will give operators permission to offer online sports betting, poker and slots. Last week, state Minister-Presidents agreed to led online igaming businesses to continue operating in the country, as long as they adhere to the player protection measures set out in the treaty. Operators will be prohibited from offering online casino table games during this period, and must implement all of the restrictions including limits on in play betting and a €1 per spin limit on slots.

An overall €1,000 spending limit will be applied to all customers, although a small number of players will have permission to apply to have the limit raised to €10,000. Another group, which must be no more than 1% of an operator’s customers, will be able to cap spending at €30,000. These players will be subject to checks and will not be allowed to lose more than 20% of their deposits.

The transition arrangement has been welcomed by operators and suppliers. Betting company Tipico, which is expected to be a major player once the re-regulated market is launched, said that it was a step in the right direction, although Chief Regulatory Officer Karin Klein asked for more clarity:

“Not all the requirements are known yet. Therefore, we are seeking an exchange with the responsible authorities in order to obtain clarity about the technical and practical requirements and their implementation.”

Klein added that the agreement reflected the change in German society, with online gambling increasingly popular, and that it provided players with the opportunity to bet through reputable providers as opposed to the black market.

Another likely key player in the new market, identity verification firm IDNow, also welcomed the arrangement. In a statement, they said they were keen to support local operators in boosting their  due diligence and identification processes throughout the transition period.

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