German authorities are set to take steps to tackle the problem of unlicensed betting operators, as talks over the new rules for the gambling sector continue.
The Regional Council of Darmstadt, which is the state body that has the responsibility for overseeing the sports betting license process in Germany, is shortly to take action against unlicensed operators providing betting services to German residents.
According to media reports, the Council is in receipt of nearly 30 applications for licences, and another 20 operators have also given notice that they were intending to apply. The Council has not said when the applications will be processed, but it has revealed that it is preparing to issue its first batch of licences. If all 50 are granted, that would effectively mean that 99% of betting activity in the sports wagering sector would be moved into the legal market.
But alongside the new licence releases, will be an increased level of activity to stamp out illegal operators. Companies that have not applied for a licence yet continue to offer sports betting services could face prosecution. The Hesse Minister of the Interior, Peter Beuth, said that the state would not hesitate to take legal action to clamp down on those in breach of the rules. Any such action is likely to be accompanied by payment blocking directives, which will be aimed at preventing German banks from handling transactions involving the illegal sites.
Reports suggest that the Council has been in touch with around 100 operators to notify them of the licensing process, and to warn them of the punitive action that will follow if they fail to apply for a licence. Ten companies have already withdrawn from the German market, and more are expected to follow over the next few weeks.
But the current Third Treaty that covers the German gambling market will only be in place until June next year, when it will be replaced by the Fourth Treaty, the details of which are expected to be finalised at a meeting of ministers on March 5.