Germany extends licence deadline

Germany has extended the deadline for operators to apply for its new sports betting licences until 10am on 12 September.

The EU Member State had originally only given operators until noon today to apply to the Interior Ministry in the federal state of Hesse for one of up to 20 sports betting licences to be issued under the new Interstate Treaty on Gambling. The president of the Association of European Betting Companies, Markus Maul, had called the tight deadline “a method of prevention” aimed at excluding foreign operators.

The Treaty, which came into force on 1 July after being ratified by 14 of Germany’s 16 federal states, replaced the previous state monopoly on sports betting, and levied a prohibitive 5% turnover tax on all sports bets taken by operators active in the German market. It also extended the ban on online poker and casino that existed under the prior four-year Treaty.

Licences currently cover the federal states of Schleswig-Holstein or North Rhine-Westphalia, both yet to ratify the Treaty. However, “the scope of the licenses may be extended during the course of the proceedings or in the aftermath, provided the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and /or Schleswig-Holstein ratify the Treaty”, said the EU-wide tender announcement.

bwin.party, already in receipt of a licence from the breakaway German state of Schleswig-Holstein, confirmed its intent late last week to apply for one of the 20 new licences, despite its belief that “the proposed regime put forward by the other 15 Länder fails to meet the tests set by the European Commission and the Court of Justice of the European Union.”

The bwin and PartyPoker owner has now also imposed a 5% fee on cashing out sports betting winnings in Germany, aimed at mitigating the expected “significant impact on our profitability in the second half” of the new turnover tax imposed in its single largest market, which represented 22% of the group’s revenues in H1.

Teufelberger said at the group’s H1 earnings call: “What we have been doing is passing on part of the burden  to the consumer by imposing a 5% pay-out fee, which is basically very similar to what Betfair does here in the UK. It is much easier to accept you are paying a certain contribution if you are winning, as it is very harsh if you just staking and losing. There are two companies that have done it that way, Interwetten and ourselves, we believe that bet365 will follow also.”


Casino Choice journalist

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