The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has called upon German policymakers to ‘simplify the country’s complicated policy framework for online gambling’.
The Brussels based industry trade body criticised Germany for being ‘one of the very few remaining European countries which has no properly functioning online gambling market’.
Explaining why the new State Treaty must simplify current legislation, Maarten Haijer, Secretary General for the EGBA, said: “That is why EGBA fully supports the government’s efforts to establish a new gambling policy and we welcome progress towards developing a functional and effective online gambling regulation. However, with less than 50% of the country’s online gambling activity currently taking place on offshore websites, re-regulation will not be an easy task.”
Haijer states that the State Treaty must tackle the rate of channelisation to unlicensed sites, especially when compared to both the UK and Denmark. However, he pointed out that the introduction of legislation which fails to be ‘evidence-led’ will set the scene for ‘continued political and legal challenges’.
He added: “The starting position of Germany is so bad that, in 2017, the Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE) predicted that the country had a “channelling” rate of only 1.8% (e.g. 1.8% of online gambling activity in Germany took place on websites which are licensed in Germany), compared to 95% in UK and 90% in Denmark.
“At least this makes the priority for the new policy clear: channelling. The new policy can only be effective if it ensures that gambling websites licensed in Germany are more attractive than those outside it – so customers will play on these websites rather than unlicensed ones. This requires the new policy to meet the customer’s needs by ensuring there is sufficient choice in the market – including brands, products and bet offerings.
“That is why the policy measures currently on the table are highly questionable. They are overly prescriptive and introduce restrictions which are not evidence-led. The combined effects of the proposed restrictions on player accounts (e.g. deposit and time restrictions), on products (e.g. the ban on online casino is not fully lifted) and on bet types (e.g. live betting will be banned), jeopardises the task of achieving a high channelling rate and sets the scene for continued political and legal challenges.
“We have had proper regulation of online gambling in Europe for well over 10 years now and it is time Germany got its house in order as well. It is in everyone’s interest to introduce a law which ensures high channelling rates, long term regulatory stability and a fully functioning market.”