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German State Treaty to come into force from 1 July after S-A approval

| By Nosa Omoigui
Germany's State Treaty on Gambling, Der Glücksspielneuregulierungstaatsverag (GlüNeuRStV), has been ratified by the state parliament of Sachsen Anhalt, paving the way for implementation from 1 July.
Germany unregulated gambling

Sachsen-Anhalt’s approval was crucial to the GlüNeuRStV’s implementation as it will host a new regulatory authority, based in the city of Halle. Work to establish this body is underway, and sources suggest it will be fully operational by the end of 2022.

Its parliament is the fifteenth out of 16 to approve the Treaty, with Nordrhein-Westfalen the final state to hold out. A minimum of 13 were required to ratify the legislation, which occurred in March when the Sachsen and Schleswig-Holstein parliaments gave their blessing. Saarland then became the fourteenth state parliament to do so last week.

Speaking about Sachsen Anhalt’s ratification, DSWV president Mathias Dahms said: “This is the beginning of a new age of gaming regulation in Germany. After sports betting, the federal states are now rightly regulating more online gaming in order to finally control market activity.”

The GlüNeuRStV, which legalises online poker and slots for all eligible operators, and provides for a more limited range of table games, was first approved as far back as March 2020 by Germany’s heads of state. It was then notified to the European Commission in May, before being ratified by Minister-Presidents in the 16 states in November.

After the commission granted a standstill period until September 2020 for the treaty to be discussed, it has slowly made its way through the German states – 13 of the necessary 16 had ratified the proposal by March 2021.

Operators within Germany were given a transitional period from October 2020 to comply with new regulations, and the slow process of which caused concerned to the Deutsche Sportwettenverband (DSWV); it saw a mass migration of players to unlicensed sites, as well as a 75% drop in turnover after sporting events were cancelled and betting shops closed in 2020.

Sports betting, legalised through the 2012 State Treaty on Gambling (Glücksspielstaatsvertrag) has already started to take shape in parts of the country, with GVC, Gauselmann and Tipwin have all already been granted licenses by the Regional Council of Darmstadt.

After the GlüNeuRStV is implemented, states will be obligated to follow its terms until 31 December, 2028. After this date, states will have the option to withdraw from the Treaty provided they give a year’s notice.

Not all parts of the legislation have proved to be popular.

As well as a 5.3% tax rate on slots and poker turnover, slot games will have a €1 per spin cap, with a five-second average spin speed – changes which came into force from 15 December.

Table games will be kept separate, and the option to grant lotteries a monopoly for the product will be left to the discretion of the individual states.

Dahms added: “The new State Treaty on Gambling is an important step towards modern regulation, but there is also room for improvement: We consider the state databases for the complete monitoring of all consumers to be extremely questionable from a data protection point of view. possibly not allowed to play handball and tennis, completely misses the expectations of customers.

“This will have to be readjusted soon. We are placing our hopes in the new authority, which will shape and objectify the gambling policy debate in the future.”

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