Schleswig-Holstein passes online gambling legislation

Schleswig-Holstein has become the first German state to pass online gambling legislation allowing gambling operators to apply for licenses from March 1, 2012. Schleswig-Holstein’s parliament narrowly passed the legislation following the European Commission’s approval of its draft online gambling bill.

The law, which comes into effect on January 1, 2012, will allow an unlimited number of licenses to be issued for sports books, betting exchanges, poker and all online casino games except blackjack, baccarat and roulette. The state will tax gross profits at a rate of 20%.

There had been doubt over whether Schleswig-Holstein would pass the bill, as it had indicated a preference for a unified treaty with the other 15 states. It is hoped the other German states will now follow their lead.

The news has been welcomed by several operators, including Betfair, a major player in the German market. It intends to apply for a license, and stated, “Betfair is committed to participating in the online gambling market in Germany and ready and willing to pay taxes there”, whose share price rocketed by 14% following the news, will also apply for a license.

Kiel-based Jaxx has confirmed that it will apply for licenses for its subsidiaries for online casino games, sports betting and poker.

Jaxx spokesman Mathias Dahms said, “The other 15 federal states would be well advised to copy the Schleswig-Holstein model. The new law provides legal certainty and strikes a fair balance between protecting players, the interests of consumers and entrepreneurial liberty.”

The sentiment was echoed by both Betfair and However, it remains to be seen whether Schleswig-Holstein’s ground-breaking legislation will cause the other German states to follow suit.