Sports betting operators in Germany have been dealt a blow with the news that the Darmstadt Administrative Court has suspended the licensing process for sports betting.
The court reached its decision following complaints made by an Austrian operator, who argued that the German procedures were opaque and discriminated against overseas operators. According to reports, the suspension is set to last indefinitely.
Germany legislators are currently working on the regulations that will underpin the German State Treaty on Gaming, which is set to take effect next summer. But as a stop-gap measure, sports betting licences were due to be given out from the start of January 2020. It had been reported that the state of Hesse had taken in 30 licence applications by February, and 20 more operators had expressed their interest. Yet, although the process began in January, no licences have yet been awarded.
Speaking about the delay, the President of the German Sports Betting Association (DSWV), Matthias Dahms, expressed his disappointment:
“The decision of the court is a big blow to our members. Even though we were promised concessions by the legislator back in 2012, an early approval, which should have been made possible by the State Treaty on Gaming, which has been in effect since the beginning of the year, is now once again in the stars.”
Dahms added that the situation was particularly unfair on those who have been working to process the licensed applications. And he emphasised that licence applicants had put in a lot of time and effort to prepare for launching in the regulated market.
But with the country currently locked down due to the Covid-19 crisis, the licensing process is set to see a long delay. Meanwhile, the Fourth State Treaty is due to be ratified by German states, after which, it will be considered by the European Commission.