The German state of Nordrhein-Westfalen has passed legislation granting five online casino licenses to operators in the region.
Online gambling was legalized across Germany in July last year via the State Gaming Treaty (GlüNeuRStv) which was approved by German lawmakers.
The treaty allowed state governments to choose how they regulated online table gaming, whether by creating a monopoly or by issuing a number of licenses equivalent to the number of land-based casinos in the state.
Nordrhein-Westfalen has opted for the latter approach, which means that five licenses can be issued.
The law specifies that this responds to a request from the public, in an attempt to steer players towards regulated channels rather than black market operators.
The legislation stipulates that licenses will only be granted if the operator does not endanger public safety or harm public interests. The operator must also have a registered office in an EU member state and conduct its business in accordance with the state treaty.
After its second reading, the bill passed with the support of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) and the Liberal Democratic Party (FDP).
The Alternative for Germany (AfD) has proposed amendments to the bill, such as a ban on companies offering bonuses and discounts, a general ban on advertising and a cooling-off period. , meaning those that offered online games before the regulations could not receive licenses. during two years. The proposed amendment was rejected.
Part of the bill explained its reasoning by saying, “A licensed range of online casino games must be created. The demand of the population for such a range of games must be channeled into an authorized market in order to attract players who would otherwise continue to play with black market providers.
“These foreign providers would play against the risks of fraud and manipulation as well as particularly addictive game designs and advertising measures through regulatory requirements. Channeling players into the legal market can also deprive the black market of its financial base.
The state of Schleswig-Holstein recently passed similar legislation allowing the operation of online casino games in the region.