The Interior Minister
of the German state of Hesse, Peter Beuth, has reaffirmed his commitment to
fighting for an overhaul of Germany’s gambling laws, arguing that an end to the
current licence cap and product restrictions is the only way to ensure a
Beuth said that
selective changes to the existing State Treaty on Gambling, which currently
favours certain states, will not resolve the legislation’s fundamental
problems. Hesse may strike out on its own to establish a viable framework if
these fundamental problems continue to be ignored, he said.
He picked out the
Treaty’s quantitative aspects as a key stumbling block that has prevented a
single licence from being issued.
“These restrictions on
providers do not do the market justice and unsuccessful applicants have
launched a wave of litigation that has brought the process to a halt,” he
explained. “This has meant that the State Treaty’s major objectives such as
fighting gambling addiction, protecting consumers and protecting minors cannot
“In future the
following must apply; if you stick to the rules, you should be able to offer
sports betting. Therefore qualitative [not quantitative] standards must be
Beuth does not believe
that increasing the number of sports betting concessions from 20 to 30 or 40
will solve the problem, because unsuccessful bidders will still complain about
such “arbitrary” restrictions. He notes that 79 sportsbook operators are
already paying taxes in the country.
“The State of Hesse
cannot and will not agree to change the State Treaty on Gambling unless the
most pressing shortcomings are eliminated,” he added.
that a “holistic approach” must be found, perhaps one based around Hesse’s proposals to
end the restriction on the number of licences and legalise casino and poker
games alongside sports betting, with a new federal regulatory body to
replace the Glücksspielkollegium.
These proposals were
put to Germany’s Council of Minister-Presidents earlier this year, only to be rejected in
favour of what many believe to be superficial changes to the legislation
such as doubling the number of permitted licensees.
Beuth warns that Hesse
could be forced to break from the State Treaty should the majority of states
pursue an illegal regulatory model instead of a framework that is legal
under German and European Union law.
“Hesse cannot and will
not be forced into recognising an unlawful treaty,” he said.