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IRIS 2012-2:1/16

Germany

Minister-Presidents Sign New Inter-State Gambling Agreement

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Peter Matzneller

Institute of European Media Law (EMR), Saarbrücken/Brussels

On 15 December 2011, the Minister-Presidents of all the Länder except Schleswig-Holstein signed a new Glücksspielstaatsvertrag (Inter-State Gambling Agreement) at the conference of Minister-Presidents in Berlin, after 15 Länder had expressed support for the liberalisation of the gambling industry in the Bundesrat (upper house of parliament). Schleswig-Holstein did not sign the draft agreement because it had already adopted its own Gambling Law in September 2011, which entered into force on 1 January 2012.

In the field of sports betting, the Glücksspielstaatsvertrag makes provision for 20 national licences to be granted to private betting companies, with an initial duration of seven years. However, the State will continue to hold a monopoly where lotteries are concerned. Casino games such as poker can, as before, only be organised by casinos.

The necessary ratification by the parliaments of the individual Länder will begin after the agreement has been examined by the European Commission. The Commission had queried an earlier draft amendment to the previous Glückspielstaatsvertrag in July 2011, referring in particular to its incompatibility with the basic freedoms enshrined in EU law and competition regulations.

References
Pressemitteilung der Ministerpräsidentenkonferenz vom 15. Dezember 2011 DE
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=15632
 
  Press release of the conference of Minister-Presidents of 15 December 2011