As a nation, Germany has a reputation for efficiency but this reputation is being sorely tested by the country’s attempts to regulate internet gambling. The process had already been complicated by Schleswig-Holstein’s attempt to go it alone and issue its own e-gaming licences but the recent plea by the state of Hesse for legal help in dealing with all the lawsuits it is facing from unhappy applicants is a new low in the story.
At a federal level Germany is planning to permit sports betting online but will not be permitting internet casino and poker. Last summer the state of Hesse’s Ministry of the Interior was given the responsibility of handling the licensing process. But from the start the process was not handled well.
The beginning of the licensing process was kept very quiet and a very short initial deadline was set. Inevitably, the first deadline had to be extended into January 2013 because some 150 companies wished to be considered for the 20 available sports betting licences.
In April 2013 around 18 companies, a mix of private and state operators, were put on a shortlist to go through to the phase 3 and have meetings with the regulator to determine their suitability for a licence. The intention was to issue licences by May 2013 and have the new sports betting firms operational in Germany before the end of the year.
But the increasing number of legal disputes could see any licences now delayed until 2014.