The ruling coalition government of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein has said that it will only support the country's new State Treaty on Gambling if it provides effective protection to all gamblers, something which it views as impossible to achieve without legalising online poker and casino games.The coalition government made up of the CDU, FDP and Green
parties, supported by the AfD and SSW parties, voted overwhelmingly in favour
of rejecting the proposed State Treaty last week, with only the
Schleswig-Holstein SPD party voting in favour of the status quo.
"This gaming treaty is not in compliance with European
Union law and does not support our goals," said Schleswig-Holstein CDU
parliamentary leader Hans-Jörn Arp.
FDP vice chairman Wolfgang Kubicki said: "As a result
of the current total ban [on online gaming], we are faced with the absurd
situation that we do not do anything to promote addiction prevention, but
actually work against it.
"We will not have any influence until we push back the
illegal, unregulated market and this will only be achieved by an attractive and
The motion adopted by the Schleswig-Holstein parliament
calls on the state government to engage with other states on further
negotiations regarding the State Treaty due to come into force next year and to
ensure that it gives Schleswig-Holstein the legal right to withdraw from the
It also calls on the government to negotiate towards a new
State Treaty that is viable, transparent and non-discriminatory. To do this it
must preserve the lottery monopoly and remove the prohibition against online
poker and casino games, the motion states, adding that concessions must only be
awarded on a qualitative and not quantitative basis.
"We do not need bans, but effective player protection
and prevention of gaming addiction," the Schleswig-Holstein Green party
said in support of the motion. "German gaming policy has failed.
"The Green Party wants gaming legislation that is
compliant with EC law, and which is not aimed at banning but at effective
player protection and prevention of gaming addition. These details are to be
discussed intensively in the coming month. One idea would be to pay more
attention to the Danish model."
As the only party voting against the motion, the SPD accused
the other parties of "destroying the cohesion of the Bundesländer".
It is estimated that online poker and casino games account
for four fifths of the unregulated German gambling market, costing the country
billions in potential tax revenue.
"Next month there will be a another conference of state
prime ministers," Arp added. "Our own successful gaming legislation
was replaced by a bad one and this new treaty must be legally sound. The
current proposal is not.
"Sports betting should include live betting. The number
of licenses cannot be restricted. And we should be realistic: nowadays, online
poker is a fact, like casinos games – which are [currently] not controlled at
all. We do not just say NO [to the State Treaty], we say YES but to a new joint