German sports betting licence dispute set for lengthy stalemate – expert

German sports betting licence dispute set for lengthy stalemate – expert

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The current dispute regarding the stalled process to award sports betting licences in the German state of Hesse is unlikely to be resolved within the current regulations, according to leading gaming lawyer Martin Arendts.

Late last week, the Administrative Court of Wiesbaden suspended the process of awarded federal licences to 20 successful applicants just hours before they were due to be granted following complaints by a dozen operators who had been unsuccessful in their initial applications.

The Hesse Ministry of the Interior and Sport was due to award licences to the likes of Bet-at-home, Betfair, Bwin.party, Digibet, Ladbrokes, MyBet, Oddset and Sportwetten.

“I do not think that the dispute in Hesse can be resolved with the current rules,” Arendts told TotallyGaming.com.

“From my point of view, they would have to re-start the whole licensing procedure anyway.

“The decision to re-start step two of the licensing procedure in November 2013 – by asking the applicants to amend their applications – did not help to correct the flaws, but made things even worse.

“There is also no factual basis for the maximum amount of 20 licences. The decision to re-start step two also did not help to make the procedure more transparent.”

The initial decision to award only 20 licences was widely criticised by sports organisations as well as betting companies.

However, with the process now having reached gridlock, few are able to speculate about when the issue might be resolved.

“At the moment, nobody can estimate a realistic timeframe,” Arendts said.

“The Hessian Administrative Court of Appeal might revoke the preliminary decision, so licences could be granted quite soon, which is not very likely.

“The most likely scenario will be a legal battle lasting at least for several months. At some point, the states might also decide to change the rules.”

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