As expected, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has stated that Hesse Ministry gambling regulations cannot prosecute unlicensed sports betting operators, due to the fact that German betting laws run contrary to EU business practices and policies.
Thursday’s announcement marks a further setback for the progression of online betting in Germany. However several German regulatory stakeholders and industry bodies, had pre-empted the ECJ’s official advocate by urging the Hesse Ministry to drop and re-draft its policy from scratch.
In existence since 2012, the Hesse Ministry’s 20 online betting licence framework has been widely criticised by all factions of Germany’s political spectrum.
Any progress on licensed sports betting in 2015, now appears dead, with the Hesse Ministry insistence on the framework being described by German betting advocates as a “chaotic and inscrutable”
Critics have further pointed that the framework’s policies could have never passed EU provisions, causing further delays and embarrassment to Hesse Courts. The EC is currently considering whether to launch infringement proceedings against Germany due to its suspicion that the regime is incompatible with EU law.
The German Sports Betting Association and the National Sports Advisory Board which maintains the interest of German sports leagues, have called for re-drafts by the Hesse Ministry. Both bodies have demanded a more European focused consensus, with business and industry stakeholders consulted on the make-up of an online betting draft.