The state of Schleswig-Holstein has shocked the industry by issuing some new German casino licenses for online gambling sites, despite the fact that just days ago a vote to rejoin the German Interstate Treaty on Gambling was pushed back to 2013, with many current license holders feeling as though taking a vote at all will be unfair to them and will mock the fact that they were given a casino license in the first place.
State legislation currently allows them to issue licenses, but if they do join the treaty then that will no longer be the case. Out of the sixteen states in Germany they are the last to decide to join, so the pressure is high and indeed it seems likely as though they will join – which is why it is so surprising that they have gone ahead and issued the first twelve online casino licenses already, to big table games, poker, and slot machine games companies such as Ladbrokes, Bwin, Betfair, Pokerstars, 888Poker, and bet365. Currently there are a further eighteen applications to the licenses which remain “under consideration”, though surely it will be difficult for them to justify issuing them with such an important vote still looming over their heads. The fifteen license holders which already have sports betting licenses for the internet have given local government considerable criticism over the decision to try to repeal the licenses through this vote, as they feel cheated by the fact that they were able to buy the licenses if they are only going to be taken away again – particularly since it was intended to be a six year license in the frist place.
Even whilst making the announcement about the twelve new licenses, the Interior Minister Andreas Breitner was quick to reiterate the state’s intention to vote on and then repeal the gambling act that they are currently working to and rejoin the national treaty, although he did point out that until the decision is made the state has an obligation to respect the law that currently exists and go ahead with the licenses that they had already promised to hand out.