Just days after the German state of Schleswig-Holstein issued its first three internet gambling licences, the early results from the state’s elections on Sunday (6 May 2012) suggest that there will be no greater certainty about the regulatory status of internet gambling in Schleswig-Holstein in the coming months.
The three licences were issued to Betfair, Jaxx, and Oddest for sports betting by the previous coalition government. This coalition was made up of the Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Liberal Democrats (FDP). The opposition party, the Social Democrats (SPD), have been strongly opposed to internet gambling regulation and indicated in the run up to the election that they would repeal Schleswig-Holstein’s regional gambling act which was passed in October 2011.
The predicted number of seats won by each party is as follows:
CDU: 22 seats
SPD: 22 seats
Greens: 10 seats
FDP: 6 seats
Pirates: 6 seats
SSW: 3 seats
The role of the Green party could be vital in determining the nature of the new coalition. 35 seats are needed for a working majority of one vote. The CDU and FDP only have 28 seats combined.
A SPD-Green-SSW grouping would have a total of 35 seats. Mathematically this is a working majority but not a strong one in terms of getting things done. The SPD’s Torsten Albig, however, believes such a coalition would work.
For the internet gambling operators their best interests are served by a CDU-led coalition.
There are a further 37 applications pending (23 for sports betting and 14 for online casinos) for licences that are currently due to run until 2018.