German Regulator Reconsiders Policy on Online Poker and Casino

The DVTM also gathered that the prohibition order will bear repercussions for all German states as they face the risk of legal action in the event that they continue to implement the enforcement policies against Visa and other payment providers.

German Regulator Reconsiders Policy on Online Poker and Casino

A test court case instituted by an operator has successfully contested a prohibition order put in place by the Regional Council of Darmstadt. A development which has compelled the Council to rethink its enforcement policies on online poker and casino operators within the country. The said prohibition order was issued under the State Treaty on Gambling’s third amendment. The regulatory body is at the moment, more open to developing transitional rules which will lead to the Fourth Amendment instead of simply dishing out interdictions.

Court Proceedings Adjourned 

According to information gathered by the DVTM (Deutscher Verband fur Telekommunikation und Medien), both the Regional Council of Darmstadt and the complainant requested a stay of proceedings to allow for the development of a transitional regulatory environment which will be overseen by the Council in concert with private gaming operators. The complainant will not be facing any enforcement actions for the duration of the suspension.

The DVTM also gathered that the prohibition order will bear repercussions for all German states as they face the risk of legal action in the event that they continue to implement the enforcement policies against Visa and other payment providers. All the German states are yoked under Lower Saxony which operates collectively for all states. 

These enforcement policies contravene European Law, which means that all German states face financial sanctions running into millions, a sum which will continue to increase as long as the prohibition remains in place.

There is a determined air within the ministry of interior seen in the overt demonstration of their resolve to stamp out illegal online gambling. They have continued to establish this by continually forcing online payment processors out of the country. 

In 2019, the regulatory body from Lower Saxony forced PayPal out of the country when it issued its first prohibition against the payment processing platform, another similar but less known platform was issued a prohibition order in February 2020. 

Licencing Process for Sports Betting Paused 

Sports betting operators are another group susceptible to sanctions from the regulatory bodies besides payment processors. Vierklee, the Austrian sports book operator argued and succeeded in convincing the judges that the process of sports betting licencing was lacking transparency and discriminates against businesses who were, at the time of application, inactive in the market. This led to the suspension of the licencing process by the court in April. In May, the Council announced its plans to appeal the court ruling as they continue to accept applications.

According to the DVTM reports, certain court proceedings in several German states have already begun to take into consideration, the incoming changes agreed by the State Ministries in Berlin on May 12, 2020.  This means that by July 1, 2020, operations that have been repressed by sanctions will be legal.

Renatus Zilles, the DVTM Chairman maintains that all enforcement actions by Lower Saxony should be suspended forthwith so that the regulators will begin prompt work on a transitory administrative framework that will expedite the implementation of the incoming gaming rules following the Fourth Amendment of the State Treaty on Gambling. Failing this, every effort would be ironically directed towards the indulgence of Asian and Russian operators who operate offshore and have no need to pay state taxes.

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