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Focus on Regulation

Germany opens online sports betting market for private operators on 1 January 2020

The third amendment to the German State Treaty on Gaming (GlüStV) will come into force on 1 January 2020. Private operators of online sports betting platforms will now be given the opportunity to apply for a licence for the operating of online sports betting in Germany. Unlike in the past, the number of licence holders is no longer limited. The application procedure will be carried out by the Regional Council Darmstadt from 2 January 2020. The Regional Council Darmstadt expects interested operators of online sports betting to submit their licence applications by 2 January 2020. Only in this case could the applications be decided on promptly. It is still unclear how long the licences issued by the Darmstadt Regional Council will be valid. This depends on the outcome of the current negotiations between the federal states regarding a further amendment to the GlüStV, which is to deal in particular with the regulation of online casino games.

Gaming law expert Prof. Dr. Thomas Dünchheim, Office Managing Partner in Düsseldorf, Head of Global Regulatory Continental Europe and Head of the Hogan Lovells Gaming & Gambling Law Initiative comments on the up-coming third amendment as follows:

“It is possible that the current provisions regulating the validity of the sports betting licences will change in due course and thus enables the extension of the licence’s validity. Details of the further procedure are still unclear. A crucial change in the Treaty on Gaming, however, is the fact that the applicants do not have to have their company headquarters to be based in Germany. Thus, for the first time, the sports betting market will be completely opened for foreign operators. In this case, when applying for a licence, an authorised person must be named for official correspondence within Germany and sufficient documentation and proof of registration must be presented by foreign authorities that are comparable to the German official documentation.”