The German state of Schleswig-Holstein has issued its first online gambling licenses, allowing a dozen operators to offer casino-style games, including poker, on the internet.
The recipients are Ladbrokes, 888 Holdings, Betfair, PokerStars, bwin.party, bet365, Bet-at-home, Mybet, Cashpoint, Online Casino Germany, Tipico and Skill On Net.
The licenses bring the total in Schleswig-Holstein to 27, with the rest granted to sports books. They stand in sharp contrast to Germany’s State Treaty on Online Gaming ratified in July by 15 of the 16 Länder, Schleswig-Holstein being the lone dissenter. The treaty permits only online sports betting and also limits the number of licensees.
The European Gaming and Betting Association, a trade group representing online operators, has submitted a formal complaint to the European Commission, claiming the treaty violates European Union free-trade guarantees. The EC agrees, and has given the German state governments two years to prove that their gambling laws comply with EU regulations.
In the meantime, many online operators continue to offer their services to the country’s residents.