The leading gaming machine manufacturer and operator associations of Germany have expressed support for the third amended State Treaty on Gambling but called for future regulations to go further by legalizing online slots.
The Automatenverband Niedersachen eV (AVN), Verband der Automatenkaufleute Berlin und Ostdeutschland (AV), Fachverband Spielhallen (FSH) and Bundesverband Automatenunternehmer (BA) stated that they welcomed the State Treaty, as it would “break the deadlock” and see online sports betting licenses finally awarded.
However, the quartet added, this was “only the first step towards re-regulating the market”. State Minister-Presidents have agreed to implement the Treaty for a short time, to 30 June 2021, to finally award sports betting licenses. Efforts to limit the market to 20 licensees were derailed by legal challenges until the regulations were amended to remove the license cap in March this year.
The new regulatory framework must ensure that players were channeled away from illegal offerings, to avoid jobs and tax revenue being lost to offshore providers, and to ensure a high level of youth and player protection, the associations said.
“Therefore, the associations are in favor of applying the regulatory approach adopted for sports betting to commercial slots,” the associations said. They argued that by applying a qualitative approach to online casino licenses, lawmakers could ensure that players were attracted to legal offerings, and away from unlicensed sites.
“Only a reasonable legal framework can ensure efficiency and consumer protection,” he said.
In August, the European Commission criticized the treaty, warning that it offered little incentive for operators to secure licenses, though lawmakers have claimed this will not prompt any changes to the legislation.
Analysts have suggested that the restrictive framework, in which sports betting is the only product permitted, but with no in-play wagering allowed, and a €1,000 monthly spending limit imposed on players, could see licensees' German revenue slashed.