Gaming lobby group European Gaming & Betting Association (EGBA) have voiced its staunch opposition to proposed online gaming regulation measures in Germany, saying that they are “set to fail”.
The First Amendment to the Interstate Treaty on Gambling came into effect in Germany just over one year ago and has already come under strong criticism from the European Commission. A number of legal disputes and lack of movement on awarding any German online gaming licences has contributed in slowing the treaty’s progress.
EGBA General Secretary Maarten Haijer said the proposed regulations, in their current form, will not be of any benefit to any of the relevant parties. “Even if the allocation is successful, it will result in a market regulation that will bring disadvantages for everyone involved,” he said.
“For our members who are active throughout Europe, the German approach is simply incomprehensible against the background of successful European regulations and the continued existence of concerns in terms of European law.”
The amendment has been criticised partly due to the fact that it will only licence sports betting services. As it stands, online poker operators do not come under the amendment. It has also been criticised for the strict and small limit on online gaming licences that it will issue in the country – a maximum of 20 licences will be issued under the regulations.
The exclusion of online poker in the regulations is not a productive move by the country, which has a solid reputation in the poker world. Its capital city, Berlin plays host to a leg of the European Poker Tour (EPT) every year, an event which attracts Europe’s best poker players and other famous faces. One such face is tennis legend Boris Becker, who took to the felt for the EPT Berlin main Event this year.
Germany has also produced some of the highest level poker players in recent years. A prime example is Pius Heinz, who is notable for taking out the 2011 WSOP Main Event, the first German to win a WSOP Main Event. Sebastian Ruthenberg is another notable German poker pro, having won a WSOP Gold Bracelet and an EPT title.
With the regulations’ lack of focus on poker and many other types of online gaming, EGBA may be correct in its projections that they are “set to fail” if they are not altered.