The organisation in charge of handling licence applications for the German sports betting market has reiterated its warning that operators need to close down casino or poker games if they want to earn the right to operate in the market legally.
The Regional Council of Darmstadt, which represents Hesse, also said that any betting company that targeted customers in Germany without seeking a licence would be dealt with severely.
Releasing an open letter to the gambling industry, the Council stated that it had taken the decision to speak out following calls for a delay to the process of licensing.
Some sources had suggested that there should be a delay in applications as the next State Treaty on Gambling, which comes into effect on January 1 2020 will only run to June 30, 2021 and there are ongoing negotiations about further rules. Some other commentators have suggested that there is a lack of clarity over which rules would be enforced.
But in its statement, the Council made it clear that the rules would be enforced fully, and that operators who fall foul of the laws will be punished:
“Once the third amended State Treaty comes into force, sports betting providers that continue to operate in the German market without securing permission to do so can expect to be sanctioned.”
The Council’s statement also said that they had been given extra powers to take action against offenders. In such cases, three separate bodies: the state broadcast regulator, the Federal Finance Intelligence Unit and the regional prosecutor would all be involved.
Some firms, including GVC Holdings, had said that they were confident they could continue to operate outlawed markets until 2021. But the Council have now made it clear that they will be enforcing the regulations fully until the end of June 2021.