17th of December 2010 Author: Glo Wood
Sports betting still debated
There has been an ongoing dispute of online gambling companies and the European Commission with the 16 German states for years in regards to relaxation of the national market, just like in other, more progressive European countries. However, the states strive to keep their current position - as signatories to a treaty keeping competition out, it's not in their interest to give up their lucrative monopoly - especially on lotteries.
According to the state premier of Saxony-Anhalt, Wolfgang Boehmer, he and his counterparts from other states had agreed to keep the monopoly on lotteries in force. Still, the debate continues for sports betting, and it is estimated that the issue could come to an end by February 2011, when the heads of the states' chancelleries are scheduled to address it.
However, as the current treaty which shuts the German gambling market expires at the end of 2011, it is necessary to draft new set of regulations if the 16 states are supposed to keep the market in their hands.
Therefore, new regulations will need federal government's approval, and it is known that some states where the ruling Christian Democratic party holds sway have a positive stand regarding the opening of the sports betting market - a business whose estimated worth is measured in billions of Euros. On the other side stands the opposition with predominant Social Democrats, who are mostly against the relaxed sports betting market.
Previously, the Germans have claimed that the monopoly provides anti-fraud and addiction protection for customers by keeping lotteries, sports betting and other kinds of gambling limited to only state-run operators. However, these restrictions were rebuked by the European Court of Justice in September, opining that they challenge the fairness and principles of European Union law.
The European Commission told the German newspaper 'De Welt' on Dec. 16: "The EU Commission hopes the result of the discussion among state premiers will lead to reforms that will be consistent with EU law."
The annual lottery revenues in Germany in 2009 amounted to about EUR2.8 billion.
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