The standstill period was extended after a number of stakeholders flagged a range of concerns with the proposed regulatory framework
The European Commission has extended the standstill period for Germany’s revamped gambling legislation. This happened as a several stakeholders have flagged a range of concerns with the proposed regulatory framework called Glücksspielneuregulierungstaatsvertrag or short GlüNeuRStV.
The standstill period was supposed to end on August 18th but has now been extended to mid-September. The new legislation, which was supposed to unite Germany’s separate State Treaties on Gambling and clarify if the regulation only restricts the online markets to sports betting.
Online poker, casino games and slots are all permitted in the new regulation though under heavily restricted conditions. Slots, for example, must be offered separately to other online casino products such as table games, which does not make sense at all according to local online casino body the Deutscher Online Casinoverband (DoCV).
The DoCV explained there was no justification for insisting on the separation of slots from other casino games. The DoCV further said that these products were considered online casino games by the general public, meaning players would expect them to be offered through the same portal. State lotteries will apparently be the only ones to get rights to offer table games.
The DoCV warned futher that too many new restrictions risked reducing the attractiveness of legal offerings and players would move on to play at illegal sites. The casino body added that functionality for players to set voluntary spending limits was appropriate, but questioned the seven-day cooling off period before any request to raise these limits was implemented.
It said that players could easily shift to gambling via unlicensed sites in the interim, and suggested the 24-hour cooling off period in force in Schleswig-Holstein be adopted instead. Furthermore, controls to block access to these illegal operators in the GlüNeuRStV were also queried. The DoCV also questioned the advertising restrictions set out in the legislation and said it would be impossible to enforce the proposed 9pm to 6am watershed for gambling advertising, especially online.
The comments submitted to the European commission further questioned the €1,000 monthly spending limit, that is to be applied across all products. Academics from the Technical University of Dresden pointed out that this was only applied selectively, as it did not cover land-based gambling or lotteries. Further it was commented that there is no justification for the cap in the legislation, nor any evidence that it would raise player protection standards.
The German Banking association Deutsche Kreditwirtschaft argued that the legislation’s provisions for blocking transactions to and from illegal sites were too broad, and ultimately contravened the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union.
The banks and financial institutions would need to allocate unreasonably high resources to preventing transactions, and would require significant sensitive data to properly identify each illegal gambling transaction. For this reason, it added, blocking all offshore transactions was simply not feasible.