GamblingCompliance: German Regulators Reveal 20 Betting Licence Winners

By David Altaner, published on GamblingCompliance

Ladbrokes, Bet-at-Home, Bwin.Party and Betfair were among the winners of 20 German sports-betting licences revealed yesterday by German regulators, while bet365 and Tipico were among the losers.

Regulators at the Interior Ministry in the German state of Hesse have circulated the names of the 20 successful applicants for the national licences, a step which is likely to ignite a series of lawsuits by unsuccessful applicants.
Winners announced yesterday include ElectraWorks, a unit of Gibraltar-based Bwin.Party; Betfair’s Polco; Novomatic’s Admiral Sportwetten; Digibet; Ladbrokes International; and Personal Exchange International, a unit of Mybet.
Oddset, the sports-betting arm of Germany’s state lotteries, was also granted a licence, as did Deutsche Sportwetten, an alliance of Austria’s Tipp3 and Deutsche Telekom.
Applicants less well-known internationally include Bernd Hobiger betting shops, Racebets International and mobile specialists Ruleo Alpenland.
Those left out include online bookmaker Interwetten, the UK’s bet365 and German land-based bookmaker Tipico, which is licensed in Malta.
Wulf Hambach, founding partner of Hambach & Hambach law firm, said: “Those not on the list of the 20 will definitely go to court now. They will say: ‘We fulfilled the same criteria and have the same quality as the others.’”
Judges in Hesse will then decide whether to put the whole licensing process on ice while they assess the failed applications.
“It’s political dynamite and the regional prime ministers will need to discuss it the next time they meet,” Hambach said.
Left-out applicants have two weeks with which to file objections.
A Tipico spokesman suggested that the licensing process was far from finished.
“Companies who aren’t listed will take the judgment away” and look to the courts for a resolution, said Dominic Sauer, speaking for the company, which has more than 750 betting shops.
Ladbrokes said it was pleased to have secured a licence, which would complement its overseas operations in Spain, Belgium and Australia.
“We will await the next steps in the regulatory process before detailing any of our plans for the German market, but it is an interesting opportunity,” spokesman Ciaran O’Brien said.
Companies offering online sports betting have been paying 5 percent tax on turnover for the more than two years that the licensing process has been delayed.
But betting companies have been offering online casino and poker while the licensing process proceeds, even though that is barred under current rules.
They reason that the licensing system has not yet launched and is open to challenge under European Union guidelines over restraint of trade.
Bwin.Party’s chief executive, Norbert Teufelberger, predicted last week that uncertainty will continue for up to two years.
“It will be quite tumultuous, that means the people who will not get a licence will not only sue the issuing body, but will sue all the ones who got the licence,” he told analysts last week.
“Unfortunately, whilst we would prefer a clear solution, most likely we will have a status quo in Germany for considerably more time.”
Bwin.Party has more than a 35 percent online market share, with Tipico its closest rival, Teufelberger said.
The top 20 applicants, in order of scoring, are:
  1. Cashpoint (Malta) Ltd
  2. Admiral Sportwetten GmbH (Novomatic)
  3. ODS ODDSET Deutschland Sportwetten
  4. Oddsline Entertainment AG
  5. Primebet International (Betbull)
  6. ElectraWorks Ltd (Bwin.Party)
  7. Digibet Ltd
  8. Bet-at-home.com Internet Ltd
  9. Ladbrokes International PLC
  10. Bet90 Ltd.
  11. Deutsche Sportwetten GmbH (tipp3 and Deutsche Telekom)
  12. Personal Exchange International Ltd (Mybet)
  13. Polco Ltd (Betfair)
  14. Intermedia GmbH
  15. Bernd Hobiger Wettbüro Goldesel
  16. RULEO Alpenland GmbH (mobile)
  17. Racebets International Gaming Ltd
  18. Albers Wettbörsen Deutschland oHG mbH
  19. IBA Entertainment Ltd (Bet3000)
  20. Star Sportwetten GmbH (Austrian bookmaker)

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