DLTB meets with EU representatives over German gambling laws

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 15th).

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 manner.”

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 betting.


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