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Germany – Rhineland-Palatinate campaigns for moderate market opening

By - 18 December 2019

The state of Rhineland-Palatinate in Western Germany is campaigning for a moderate market opening following its struggle to regulate online gambling.

Current regulations apply until mid-2021 and it is expected the federal states should reach an agreement by 2020 for regulations beyond that. At present, there are a number of unregulated private providers with websites servicing a rampant German black market of online gambling. These are only allowed in Schleswig-Holstein.

Mainz State Chancellor, Clemens Hoch, said: “Rhineland-Palatinate occupies a middle position among the federal states, because we recognise that citizens are demanding a contemporary offer there.” For an orderly framework, there must be “attractive, licensed offers for customers. This is the only way we can contain the grey and black market.” A new supervisory authority in Germany must “be trained for an effective and quick prevention of the activities of illegal providers”.

Hoch added that “deposit, bet and loss limits, a player card and similar forms of financial restriction” are under discussion. The countries are primarily concerned with “preventing the development of gambling addiction and alleviating the financial consequences of pathological gambling behaviour”.

The slot machine industry is also hoping for new digital businesses. In addition to the Gauselmann Group in Espelkamp in East Westphalia, Löwen Entertainment in Bingen is one of the largest manufacturers of slot machines in Germany.

Hoch gives this industry some hope with regard to online offers: “If the market is opened up to providers beyond state providers, we are committed to ensuring that everyone who meets the qualitative requirements – above all in terms of reliability, youth and player protection – met to apply for a license.”

Daniel Henzgen, Member of the Management Board of Löwen Entertainment, explained: “Gambling is a product that can be fully digitised. Providers should have to meet high quality requirements, but then also be allowed to participate in the market. We need legalisation of online gambling in Germany with strict quality regulation at the same time.”

According to the Chancellor of Mainz, all federal states agree on the planned ban on German-language secondary lotteries based abroad, such as Lottoland which bet on the winning numbers of traditional lotteries. If a player types the numbers of the German classic 6 out of 49 on the Lottoland website, the online company promises to transfer the exact same winnings.

State-owned lottery companies such as Lotto Rhineland-Palatinate are keen to maintain their monopoly whilst second lotteries, which pay no taxes and duties, are deemed more harm than good in Germany, according to Lotto Rheinland-Pfalz in Koblenz.

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