For the first time in its history, Germany’s controversial Interstate Treaty on Gambling has been subject to a rigorous study assessing its impact on sports integrity, customer protection and tax revenues – and the results have been less than positive.
Three high-ranking professors spent half a year conducting the data for the study titled “Fact-based Evaluation of the Interstate Treaty on Gambling”, which uses a variety of academic methodologies – including economic, legal and sociological – to assess the success of the legislation.
At the launch of their research findings in late May, Professor Justus Haucap, director of the Dusseldorf Institute for Competition Economics; Professor Martin Nolte, director of the Institute for Sports Integrity at the German School of Sports in Cologne and Professor Heino Stöver, a social sciences professor at the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, held a press conference in Berlin to deliver their verdict on the Treaty.
At the heart of the research was a comparative ‘Channelisation Index’, mapping the success that various national regulators had had in funnelling players towards safe, regulated products.
In this part of the study, Germany came bottom of the list of countries, seeing the lowest percentage of players accessing regulated gambling products. This statistic that was interpreted as a direct result of the country’s restrictive online gaming regime.
The research also suggested that Germany was missing opportunities to fund and support sports integrity initiatives through the sports-betting industry, with Professor Nolte describing current integrity legislation as going “completely beyond the reality” of the situation.
The authors of the 300-page study, supported by industry lobbyists such as German Sports-betting Association (DSWV), are hopeful that the study will go some way towards convincing state politicians to introduce more common-sense regulation for the industry.
“Only when online gambling is legalised can the State achieve a number of goals: protecting players, combating gambling addiction and preventing the manipulation of sports,” commented Professor Haucap. “This is exactly where the current legislation fails, along so many lines.”
Meanwhile, in Germany’s northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, coalition talks continue that could see the area opting out of the Interstate Treaty entirely.
In 2012, the Schleswig-Holstein coalition government, led by the Liberals (FDP) and Conservatives (CDU), made the ground-breaking decision not to ratify the Treaty, instead establishing its own online gaming and licensing regime within the state.
This regime ended abruptly in 2013 when a Social Democrat-led coalition replaced the previous one, but could be set for resurgence after the latest state election saw the CDU and FDP vote shares rise significantly.
If talks for a “Jamaika” coalition – involving the Greens, Liberals and Conservatives – are a success, the state will be run by a largely pro-gaming government.
The liberal FDP in particular, led by vocal gambling-reform advocate Wolfgang Kubicki, have been bullish about the chances of Schleswig-Holstein breaking away once more.
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