|A ban on all online gambling could begin in Germany as early as tomorrow as part of an interstate agreement to preserve the nation’s State monopolies for lotteries and most forms of betting.|
According to Bloomberg's business news service, every one of Germany’s 16 State legislatures voted in mid-December to approve new anti-online betting laws. These new laws were negotiated after the Federal Constitutional Court overturned earlier rulings and ban any form of web-based gambling or brokering of betting games over the Internet. In addition, individual German states may order Internet service providers to block the websites of illegal betting operations and banks to stop money transfers.
The definition of illegal gaming includes placing a bet from German territory over the Internet with a company based outside Germany, directly attacking the manner in which most countries conduct online gambling business.
The new regulations are to also outlaw advertising of online gambling and state that advertising in print and other media could no longer ‘directly invite, incite or prompt’ customers to play and may only ‘inform’ about the possibilities of doing so.
Major betting companies such as Bwin Interactive Entertainment, Fluxx and Tipp24 have been critical of the accord and have stated their intention to launch a challenge. Tipp24 said last week that it regarded the regulations ‘as clearly contrary to law and will sue for its rights if necessary’.
'We think that in the second half of 2008 the European Court of Justice will have stopped this futile effort to keep us out of Germany,' said Hartmut Schultz, Spokesman for Vienna-listed Bwin.