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October 25, 2014

German province continues to hand out licenses in face of EU oppression


Schleswig-Hotein (coat of the arms)The German province of Schleswig-Holstein has continued to hand out online gambling licenses for online sportsbooks in recent weeks, standing firmly against pressure from the European Union to review a law that could reverse the system of handing out licenses in the country. Schleswig-Holstein’s defiance comes as a major boost to the online gambling world, yet is another slap in face for the European Union who seem overwhelmed with problems from every angle in recent months.

These most recent actions from the breakaway province include the handing out of dozens of gambling licenses to online sportsbooks in Germany. Andreas Breitner – who is the German Interior Minister – has made it clear that despite pressure from the European Commission that Schleswig-Holstein has a mandatory obligation to consider all applicants for gambling licenses up to the very day that the European Commission approves legislation stating otherwise. Because of this, the granting of licenses has been fast, swift and successful for many online gambling businesses in recent months, and more could be on the way with the European Commission potentially delayed by up to four additional months whilst they decide on their next course of action concerning the new law.

The most recent estimates in Germany appear to indicate that at least twenty two more applicants are in the pipeline to have their cases reviewed before licenses are granted. In recent weeks, four high profile online sportsbooks have received licenses from the German province, making a total of twelve that have been issued by Schleswig-Holstein. Sources are stating that the licenses currently under review are for such games as poker, roulette and slots.

The case of Schleswig-Holstein is most certainly a bizarre one. This is a case of one German state that has drawn up its own policies and regulations in order to control its gambling center, whilst avoiding the jurisdictions of Germany and the European Commission. There have been few signs of upset by the other German states over the issue however and the only real grievance on the matter appears to stem from the European Union.

It is unclear at the moment if Schleswig-Holstein will retain its right to deliver licenses once, and if the new law from the European Commission comes into effect. Many are predicting that the Schleswig-Holstein model if proven successful could provide a spearhead for a similar movement in the United States, should federal law prevail and a general banning of online gambling is upheld. The situation in the United States concerning online gambling is at the moment however, under review and it is widely felt that the federal government will allow each state to make its own mind up pertaining to gambling in their borders; with the exception of sports betting which is predicted to remain illegal under federal law.


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