The Deutsche Lotto und
Totoblock (DLTB), Germany’s association of state lottery operators, has met
with European Union officials to discuss a range of issues relating to the
controversial process to regulate the country’s iGaming market.
Executives of the DLTB
met with representatives of the European Parliament, European Commission and
Committee of the Regions in Brussels over two days last week (June 14th and
A range of topics were
discussed during the period, including the European Union’s digital internal
market, concerns over a perceived lack of action taken against unlicensed
operators, and the EC’s pilot process against German gambling laws.
“The European arena
plays an important role in the area of gaming,” DLTB co-chair and LOTTO Hamburg
co-CEO Torsten Meinberg explained. “Legislation of member states can be
complemented in a meaningful way, when this takes place in a coordinated
During the talks the
DLTB called for the EU to take action to restrict the access of operators
licensed and taxed in a European Union jurisdiction from using the principle of
free movement to enter other markets. It argued that such companies do not
comply with the statutory provisions of other markets, meaning the dangers of
gaming and subsequent social costs are shifted away from the operator and onto
the country where the players are based.
“In addition the
democratically legitimate regulations of individual member states are
undermined,” the DLTB added.
This assertion comes
with a number of companies using licences from jurisdictions such as Malta,
Gibraltar or even the north-German state of Schleswig-Holstein to service
players across Germany. This freedom of service has long been a bugbear of the
DLTB as it looks to ensure the country’s iGaming legislation does not infringe
on its members’ businesses.
The EU’s digital
internal market was also discussed with EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and
Society Günther Oettinger, who said: “The gaming sector must embrace the
challenges of the internal digital market in an innovative manner. Lotto should
use the large opportunities it has been offered.
Oettinger also pledged
that he would “gladly acknowledge” notications of problematic developments in
gaming and address these issues.
“The DLTB welcomes the
approach of the EC to give the digital internal market an important status as a
market of the future,” Meinberg said. “The first proposals by the Committee
with respect to geo-blocking, audiovisual media and ecommerce indicate that the
Committee considers gaming as an exceptional service.
“The DLTB considers
this to be appropriate,“ he said “We would welcome Council and Parliament to
adopt this position. We emphatically support the fact that gaming is not part
of the negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.”
Finally the DLTB
delegation discussed the EU’s pilot process launched against Germany’s gambling
laws, which have been condemned by almost all parties – aside from the state
lottery body – for being non-compliant with EU law.
“The DLTB regrets the
fact that the EC again has questioned the German gaming market,” said Meinberg.
“Unequivocally, a difficult situation has arisen with regard to sports betting,
and the Länder are currently investigating how this can be solved in a
long-term manner. It would be wise for the EC to wait.“
Meinberg failed to
acknowledge that an increasing number of German states, led by
Hesse, have begun to push for a total overhaul of the country’s iGaming
legislation in which online casino and poker are legalized alongside sports