Recently, a draft for the 3rd Amendment to the German Interstate Treaty on Gambling (Staatsvertrag zum Glücksspielwesen in Deutschland – “GlueStV”) has been published (“3rd Amendment”). The draft for the 3rd Amendment is available in German here.

Proposed changes under the draft for the 3rd Amendment

The key changes under the proposed 3rd Amendment are as follows:

  • The current version of the GlueStV contains a rather restrictive quota for governmental sports betting licenses in Germany. According thereto, only 20 licenses are available for all of Germany and only for a certain experimental period expiring on 30 June 2019. This 20-licenses-quota is currently subject to pending court proceedings before German administrative courts which led to a de facto suspension of the quota. A key change under the 3rd Amendment is the intended complete removal of the 20-licenses-quota for the deration of the experimental period.
  • At the same time, the experimental period shall be extended until 30 June 2021. A further consecutive extension until 30 June 2024 may be possible.
  • The 3rd Amendment to the GlueStV shall enter into force on 1 January 2020.

Further course of legislative process

Due to its particular nature as an Interstate Treaty, the 3rd Amendment to the GlueStV needs to be agreed on by the Prime Ministers of the German federal states. The current plan is that the German federal states will agree on the 3rd Amendment by circular vote after the upcoming Prime Minister Conference on 21 March 2019. Then, the 3rd Amendment will need to be ratified by each German federal state by 31 December 2019 in order to become a binding law across Germany.

Comment

The 3rd Amendment will enable new providers of Sports Betting Services to enter the German market in a legal way. But also existing market players who are currently only tolerated may benefit from the possibility to obtain a license, without the need to pass a selection process under the existing quota of 20 licenses.

Notably, the 3rd Amendment is limited to sports betting licenses. It does not contain any amendments with regard to the offerings of other gambling services on the German market, such as online casinos. It remains to be seen whether the upcoming Prime Minister Conference will be able to agree on a joint approach with regard to such services. So far, in the past only the federal state Schleswig-Holstein had issued certain governmental online gambling licenses; however, the geographic scope of those online gambling licenses was limited to the rather small territory of Schleswig-Holstein.