HAMBURG Jan 24 The last regional government in
Germany to oppose a state-controlled gambling monopoly has
relinquished its authority to allocate concessions to private
The centre-left government in Germany's northernmost federal
state of Schleswig-Holstein rescinded a law passed by its
predecessor that led to a liberalisation in sports betting and
All 15 other states had signed an agreement that allows only
20 concessions to be granted to private companies across all of
The previous centre-right government in Schleswig-Holstein
had granted three six-year betting licences to Betfair,
Jaxx and Oddset last May, only days before elections
for state parliament.
As recently as last month the state granted a further 12
licences for online casino and poker games to operators
including Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment, the world's
largest listed online gaming group.
In a legal opinion submitted to the German government last
month, the European Commission questioned the logic of
Schleswig-Holstein moving to a more restrictive regime so soon
after liberalising its market.
"The Commission would be interested in receiving information
that would explain the substantial legislative changes to the
regulation of online sports betting in Schleswig-Holstein not
even one year after authorisation of this market," it said in a
confidential document seen by Reuters.
Bwin.Party said this month that Germany should allow online
gaming companies to compete on level terms with locally based
Other foreign gambling companies, including Betfair and
William Hill, have scaled down their operations in
Germany because of a 5 percent turnover tax on sports betting.