|In Germany, a regional court has ruled that Austrian betting group Bwin can continue to offer its sportsbetting services with only minor restrictions.|
Bwin has been in legal conflict with several German state monopolies for some time but a court in Saxony has ruled that it may continue to operate in the former communist East Germany under a licence issued days before German reunification in 1990.
The court ruled that this licence also covered arranging bets online, a decision that could undermine German plans to outlaw Internet gambling in new legislation planned next year.
'We welcome the decision because it confirms the license and makes clear that the planned German Gambling Law can't be realised,' said a spokesman for Bwin's German arm, Bwin eK.
However, the court ruled that Bwin's license was not valid in the western part of the country, contradicting other courts in western German states that had deemed the license valid. This part of the ruling creates even more confusion in Germany with Bwin now required to ask users where they are resident to ensure only East German users are partaking in its services.
The Bwin spokesmen stated that the company would obey the ruling but observed that western Germans could be diverted to Bwin's international website at bwin.com, which operates under a license issued by the British Overseas territory of Gibraltar. Bwin.com's right to arrange sportsbets with German-based users is being contested by German authorities but has so far not been definitively outlawed.