The state of Schleswig-Holstein has offered a range of online gambling options to Germans since 2012, in contrast to the country’s other 15 states, which only offer sports betting. But since a 2017 ruling which barred non-German operators from having a presence, contracts have been expiring.
With the original contracts handed out by Schleswig-Holstein nearing their end, German punters signed up to platforms under international control are being left with no alternative but to switch platforms to a German-operated site.
One operator to have already disabled payments from German customers is GVC Holdings, which owns Bwin. According to a report from Casino News Daily, from earlier in December, German online casino players now don’t have the option to replenish their accounts through PayPal.
Customers of Merkur Gaming, which is also internationally operated, are another group to have lost access to the German version of the platform in recent times, as their contract reached expiration.
Those involved in the German online gambling market might be praying for some light at the end of the tunnel. The future remains far from straightforward for operators after a new state government took control in Schleswig-Holstein. It still remains to be seen how much water the original licences which were signed will hold.
Back in 2012, Schleswig-Holstein initially offered 12 online gambling licences to companies including PokerStars, Betfair and Bwin.Party, Ladbrokes and Bet365. This led to the state being seen as something of a mecca for online gambling in Germany. Several of the original licences awarded were for a duration of six years, meaning that as we near the end of 2018, a few are coming to an end.
Operators in Schleswig-Holstein are governed by a regulatory framework known as the Interstate Treaty on Gambling 2012. Among its core objectives are: consumer protection, including protecting children and combatting gambling addiction; the prevention of fraud; and a commitment to fight against black market operatives.