Gambling operator files constitutional appeal
888 Holdings will appeal a court ruling excluding online casino operators from offering their services to German customers. The lower court ruling was upheld by the Federal Administrative Court last October in the German state of Baden-Württemberg.
The UK-listed gambling operator issued a statement last month warning its investors it may leave the German market, despite it constituting a fundamental part of their revenue. While the market reaction to its exit plans was alarmist, investors remained unperturbed.
On Monday, 888 Holdings announced that its German-facing subsidiary had filed a constitutional complaint with the Federal Constitutional Court based on the company’s assertion that the October ruling “infringes its constitutional rights, as well as its rights under European Union law, (including the freedom to provide services), and hence should be reversed.”
Last month, Thomas Schäfer, Finance Minister for the state of Hesse, publicly lobbied for yet another go at crafting a workable federal treaty. Schäfer, who also chairs the board of state lottery operator Lotto Hessen, said the regulatory inertia had created “a quasi-legal free space that allows wild growth and the black market to blossom.”
A 2012 federal treaty was rejected by both local and EU courts leaving German online gambling rules unclear and of uncertain legitimacy. A revised treaty was proposed last year but failed to achieved the unanimous consent of all 16 German states needed for it to pass.