Over 20 licenses in Schleswig-Holstein

This is a translation of the article “Über 20 Lizenzen in Schleswig-Holstein” written by Tobias Kuske, published at www.sponsors.de

Schleswig-Holstein has issued further sports-betting and online-casino licences. The controversy is: 22 companies now have a sports betting licence in the northern state whereas the other 15 states still only want to approve 20 concessions.

The homepage of the Ministry of the Interior of the state Schleswig-Holstein has listed the new holders of the sports-betting licences: “Spread Your Wings Germany Ltd.“ (mostly known for its brand Sportingbet), “Primebet International Ltd.“ (Betbull, from Vienna), “OnGoingMedia GmbH“ (from Hamburg, which took over the lottery business of the Jaxx SE), “Nordbet GmbH“ (with headquarters in Pinneberg and director Harald Kochman who is also chairman of the Austrian bookmakers` association and director of Wettbüro GmbH), “World of Sportsbetting Ltd.“ (Happybet), „RULEO Alpenland GmbH“ (from Salzburg), “IBA Entertainment Ltd.“ (Bet3000).

“Betway Limited” was also granted an online-casino licence. Therefore there are 22 companies that are in possession of a sports-betting licence for the next six years and 13 companies with online-casino licences, respectively.

The granting of the further licences seems to be playing in the cards of the critics of the Interstate Treaty on Gambling, which is valid in 15 federal states and which the S-H government is still planning to join. According to the Interstate Treaty on Gambling merely 20 companies are to be given the right to legally do business with sports betting by granting a concession.

Legal experts have been pointing out, that the 15 federal states would be having difficulties to explain why a company with a S-H licence is merely allowed to provide its services there but not in the other states.

This is exactly what it comes down to: Even if you subtract one licence from the 22, due to the fact that “Admiral Sportwetten” has been granted two concessions for tactical reasons, there is at least one company remaining which has successfully passed the strict application procedure of the Ministry of the Interior of Kiel, but will be left empty-handed in the other 15 federal states.

Lawyer and gambling expert Wulf Hambach from Hambach & Hambach law firm describes the problem which the states are facing: up till now, the idea has been pursued that the licences from S-H could be transferred into the other 15 states – now, however, this plan does not seem to work out.

Consequences for further court decisions

Just like the regulations regarding online-casino, which still remains prohibited for private providers according to the Interstate Treaty on Gambling, the quantitative restriction of the sports betting-licences does not fulfill the demands for coherence within the German gambling legislation by the European Court of Justice (November 2011). “The incoherence is perfect at this point” is pointed out by Hambach, who also adds that this will be noticed and reflected by the federal Court of Justice and other German courts when giving judgments on the gambling topic in the near future.

In short: The recent granting of the licences is a perfect opportunity for those who have already announced to take legal action against the Interstate Treaty on Gambling.

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