Schleswig-Holstein Drops Legal iGaming Market
Once a rogue German state as far as iGaming is concerned, Schleswig-Holstein has announced they will abolish their legislation and rejoin the country’s Interstate Gambling Treaty. The move brings an end to any form of legal online gambling in Germany, for now.
Schleswig-Holstein made history last September by passing the first gaming treaty in Germany’s history. The legislation permitted all popular forms of online gambling.
In December, Schleswig-Holstein was left out in the cold when the Prime Ministers of all 15 other German states signed a gaming treaty suggesting a ban on online casino and poker.
Schleswig-Holstein pressed on in defiance of the country’s gambling treaty. They awarded licenses to a total of seven iGaming providers. However, these license recipients will now be unable to conduct business in Germany as they had hoped.
This week, eGaming Review reported that Schleswig-Holstein’s new government will abolish the state’s gaming legislation in order to rejoin the federal government’s gambling treaty.
Legal gambling in Germany began to come apart in Schleswig-Holstein on May 6th when the political party that created the legal iGaming legislation lost a close election battle. Three of Germany’s political parties, the Social Democrats, Green Party and South Schleswig Voter Federation, formed a coalition to gain control over the state from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats.
It was widely understood that the coalition would seek to rejoin Germany’s other 15 Länder by abolishing Schleswig-Holstein’s gaming legislation without being held liable to compensate the seven companies to whom licenses were awarded.
Investors of bwin.party were none too happy to receive confirmation of Schleswig-Holstein’s plans to return to a form of iGaming prohibition. Shares of that Bwin’s stock were down more than 6% last week.
There are signs that not all of the seven companies licensed to operate in Schleswig-Holstein plan to accept this news quietly. Mathias Dahms, CEO of myBet Holding, indicated last month that his company could ignore any reversal in the state’s stance on gambling and continue to operate under the license they were granted.
The situation in Schleswig-Holstein seems ripe for legal battles to draw on for some time.