Germany has ratified the Gambling Treaty with third states

The minister-presidents of Germany's 16 federal states have ratified the third amended State Gambling Agreement, enabling operators to apply for sports betting licenses on the market, while Schleswig-Holstein will have its own liberal regulatory regime.

At a conference of ministers and presidents on March 21, lawmakers agreed to sign the treaty, which will take effect from April 1, 2021 and run until June 30, 2021.

The third amended State Treaty has undergone several changes compared to the 2012 edition, although the controversial limit of 20 licences has been removed. Although there is no limit on the number of operators that can be licensed, licensees will be taxed at 5% of turnover, betting while playing is prohibited and players are not allowed to spend more than €1,000 (£868 / $1,137). each month. As before, sports betting is the only vertical allowed.

Schleswig-Holstein will be allowed to continue its own liberal regulatory model until 2021. First introduced in 2011, the state imposes no restrictions on product verticals and imposes a 20% tax on gross income. Steps to extend the licences issued in 2012 began last week so that they are valid till June 30, 2021. The state will effectively act as a testing ground for a more liberal model, which could be rolled out to the rest of the country from 2021. country.

Dr Wolf Hambach of leading German law firm Hambach & Hambach suggested that the short-term nature of the amended Treaty would make it difficult to enforce the ban on live betting.

"There is also a big question as to whether the online casino ban will be enforced from 1 January 2020," Hambach added. "If, for example, other federal states are in favour of regulating online casinos, they are unlikely to enforce the ban." - Wolf Hambach was quoted as saying by .

Hambach said that with different positions on gambling regulation in a number of states, the 2021 overhaul could give states the option to choose or opt out of a more liberal framework.

"I think it is quite likely that you will see a fully regulated market after 2021, so that is one step in the right direction and there is already a lot of discussion going on between states, but I think these talks are very fruitful. If you look back two or three years, there have never been any serious discussions about serious reforms [of gambling regulation]," he continued. "This is the first time it seems like a big step forward has been taken."

Hans-Jörn Arp, parliamentary leader of the Christian Democratic Union in Schleswig-Holstein and one of the most ardent opponents of the State Treaty, called today's agreement a "breakthrough".

"Today's decision by the Conference of Ministers and Presidents to present the basis for subsequent State Treaty gambling rules means that we have finally achieved a breakthrough after ten years and have been recognised by the other federal states," said Arp.

"For the state of Schleswig-Holstein, this is a great success after the state had long faced resistance to its prospective gambling solution," he said. "Now the other federal states are moving in the same direction after they have finally become convinced of the feasibility of the Schleswig-Holstein model."

Arp said a cross-party consensus in the Schleswig-Holstein parliament had contributed to this.

He said the decision was good news not only for those who gamble online, who will be better protected while gambling, but also for professional sports clubs, which can be supported by the additional investment generated by gambling taxes.

However, the German operators' association Deutscher Sportwettenverband has taken a less positive approach, with president Matthias Dams calling the ratification of the Treaty an insufficient first step towards regulating the country's sports betting market.
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