Germany’s Fourth Interstate Treaty on Gambling (GlüNeuRStV) has been ratified by the state parliament of Saxony-Anhalt, paving the way for the expanded online market to launch on 1 July.
The approval of Saxony-Anhalt was critical to the GlüNeuRStV’s getting off the ground because the state will host the industry’s new regulatory body for Germany. It is reported that the authority will be operational by the end of 2022.
The Treaty had already been approved by 15 states. However, industry insiders are still uncomfortable with certain aspects of the legislation. Germany’s sports betting association, DSWV, suggested there was “room for improvement”.
DSWV president Mathias Dahms said: “We consider the state databases for the complete monitoring of all consumers to be extremely questionable from a data protection point of view. The fact that the particularly popular live bets should be allowed on football and ice hockey games in the future, but possibly not on handball and tennis, completely misses the expectations of customers.”
Dahms also expressed concern over the proposed tax regime, which will apply a 5.3 per cent tax on all stakes made by consumers in online slot machine games and poker games, including stakes made with previous winnings.
“This makes the game considerably more expensive for the customer, and their game credit is used up more quickly”, said Dahms. “In the end only the black-market profits from this, no other country in Europe taxes the stakes in virtual slot machine games, but always the gross gaming revenue – the actual revenue of the gaming provider.”
He went onto urge members of Germany’s federal parliament, The Bundestag, to give the gambling tax regime greater consideration over the coming electoral term. “There is no time pressure, as the providers already pay 19% sales tax on gross gaming revenues”, he added.
Despite his reservations though, Dahms welcomed the new legislation as “the beginning of a new age of gaming regulation in Germany”.
“After sports betting, the federal states are now rightly regulating further online games of chance in order to finally control what is happening on the market. Consumers benefit from clarity and security: providers with a state seal of approval meet the highest standards of consumer and youth protection, gambling addiction and fraud prevention”, he said.
“The establishment of a central gaming supervisory authority in Halle / Saale and the nationwide blocking system for gamblers at risk of gambling addiction or pathological players are correct and important measures.”
The GlüNeuRStV legalises online poker and slots for all eligible operators, and a limited range of table games.