Germany is still accepting sports betting license applications.

  • A German administrative court recently ruled that the Darmstadt Regional Council must stop issuing sports betting licenses for the time being.
  • The Council has challenged this ruling with one of Germany’s Supreme Courts but will continue to accept and review applications in the meantime.
  • Sports betting was made temporarily legal on January 1, 2020, but broader online gambling legalization is slated for July 2021.

BERLIN, Germany – The Darmstadt Regional Council has stated that it will continue to review and accept applications for German sports betting licenses. A recent court ruling by the Darmstadt Administrative Court blocked the issuance of licenses.

The Darmstadt Regional Council was one of two entities tasked with vetting, processing, and accepting applications for sports betting licenses under Germany’s Third State Treaty on Gambling. This treaty permits online and mobile sports betting throughout Germany but prohibits other forms of online gambling.

Other forms of online gambling are set to become legal next summer with a new landmark law, which will legalize online poker and casino games.

This treaty went into effect on January 1, 2020. It is only intended to serve as a stopgap while Germany prepares for the more permanent law to be enforced beginning on July 1, 2021.

How Has The Ruling Affected The Licensing Process?

The court’s decision to block new licenses stems from a court case initiated by Austrian betting firm Vierklee, which contends that the process of applying for a sports betting license in Germany is unfairly marred by a lack of transparency.

Specifically, Vierklee claims that there aren’t clear criteria established about how a sports betting provider can qualify for a license and that the application process greatly favors German companies with prior experience in local online gambling.

The company also contends that the lack of a uniform date on which licensed online betting would go live in Germany is arbitrary and discriminatory.

While the court ruled in Vierklee’s favor to halt the granting of licenses, its ruling did not specify whether it overrules or invalidates the Third State Treaty on Gambling until the 2021 law goes into effect.

Darmstadt Regional Council Appeals Ruling

The Darmstadt Regional Council has already appealed the Darmstadt Administrative Court’s ruling with the Kassel Administrative Court, one of five federal Supreme Courts in Germany.

While the lower court’s ruling prevents the Council from issuing new legal sports betting licenses, they can still review applications and prepare to issue them quickly in the event that its appeal succeeds. If the appeal fails, companies will still be responsible for all costs associated with the application process.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the licensing process, over 50 betting companies have already applied for a sports betting license, with more likely to come.

Germany is one of many countries that has either legalized or sought to legalize sports betting recently.

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