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Germany to Officially legalize online gambling and poker

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Germany to Officially legalize online gambling and poker
Photo Source: history.com
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Germany’s relationship with online gambling has been in a grey area for quite a long time. It was largely illegal, except for about 20-something operators who had permission. There were not many legal gambling sites in Germany, and the process of obtaining a license was extremely hard and complicated.

According to a new regulation that will take place starting the 1st of July, Germany will be legalizing online casinos and poker officially, on a state level. The legislation was passed at a meeting in Berlin.

When will it go into effect?

The changes will be implemented slowly as the regulatory body Glücksspiel Neuregulierung Staatsvertrag /GlüändStv/ will be instantiating online casinos and poker among legal ways to gamble online.

As of now, only sports betting will be allowed for companies who obtain the license from Darmstadt Regional Council, for which 30 companies have already submitted an application, and about the same number is allegedly making plans to do so in the near future.

What do you need to know?

Sports betting will also be one of the subjects that will undergo some changes with new guidelines. Mainly, live betting will be limited to a degree, specifically how the bets are made on final results and the next scorers.

Besides poker and sports betting, most other casino games will be fully allowed as well, including the oft-desired slots which are very popular all around the world. Due to their popularity, slots will come with some very strict guidelines that need to be followed by each and every casino offering them. As an example, the maximum bet per spin will be limited to €1, along with a mandatory €1000 deposit limit. Slots will also need to be advertised and offered separately from all other table games, and they may not be advertised between the times of 6AM and 9PM.

One of the main advantages that this change will bring is the safety of the consumer. As stated, online gambling is a grey area in many countries, and that includes Germany. The government officially stepping in to regulate the environment ensures that people may safely try out a lot of different casinos. Comparing the best casino bonus codes is something that many gamblers use as a main deciding factor for choosing an online casino, but what they often miss is the safety aspect of it, meaning how trustworthy and legitimate a casino is. There’s also the issue of reliability of the software itself, payment processing and more. With the government officially setting standards, the bar will be much higher, ensuring higher overall quality for all players.

While these regulations are in place for the consumer’s protection and are made with the best intentions in mind, many in the gambling community, and also from the regulatory environment as well, are quite discontent with these changes. The German Sports Association (DSWV) president responded that while this was a good and positive step towards modern and regulation-compliant gambling market, these changes also may lead to some “undesirable structural developments”, which may pose challenges for future regulations.

The primary concern that many experts have risen is that these changes and regulations may lead people to search for other international options where limits are much higher. This results in an increased risk of playing at websites that are, to an extent, shady, or worse – illegal. Benevolent as they may be, how these regulations turn out to work will only be shown by time, but for now, experts are optimistic in their anticipation.

Industry News

Patrick Svensk Resigns as Chairman of Betsson

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Patrick Svensk, Chairman of the Board of Betsson AB (publ), has informed the Nomination Committee that he is resigning from Betsson’s Board of Directors and the assignment as Chairman with immediate effect. The Board has appointed Johan Lundberg, currently a member of Betsson’s Board, as the new Chairman.

Patrick Svensk has been a member of Betsson’s Board of Directors since 2005, and Chairman of the Board since 2017. The decision to resign from Betsson’s Board of Directors is based on the fact that the company’s major shareholders have stated that they no longer have full confidence in Patrick Svensk as Chairman of the Board. The lack of full trust is due to how the dismissal of the CEO was handled, which the company communicated in a press release on September 17, 2021.

“It is very sad, and I am sorry that I have disappointed our major owners, but I have done what I thought was best for the company. I am proud of what we have achieved during these years and wish everyone at Betsson great luck in the future,” Patrick Svensk said.

Johan Lundberg, who has been appointed as new Chairman by the Board, has been a member of Betsson’s Board since 2018. Johan Lundberg is the founder of NFT Ventures and a Board Member of Loomis, Svolder and Ölands Bank.

“I would like to extend a warm thank you to Patrick Svensk for his valuable contributions to the Board for almost 17 years. I look forward to continuing the work with the rest of the board to recruit the next generation of international leader to Betsson and at the same time complete the strategic work that is going on with renewal and growth,” Johan Lundberg said.

The Chairman of the Nomination Committee Michael Knutsson has expressed full confidence and support for the remaining Board members and its election of a new Chairman and supports the decision to seek the next generation of international leader for Betsson.

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Industry News

Holland Casino Expects Gains in H2 2021

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Holland Casino is preparing for recovery after a rough first half of the year, having been forced to close for more than 5 months due to measures taken against the COVID-19 pandemic.

As anticipated by the Dutch state-owned company, the extended closure had a negative impact on its financial results for the first half of the year. But as its 14 branches have been operating again since June 5, the operator now expects to post positive results for the second half of 2021.

Turnover achieved in June shows that Holland Casino will soon be able “to operate in a healthy manner” again. Moreover, after having completed “necessary restructuring,” the company expects to become a more efficient and agile organisation, according to a press statement released on Wednesday.

Turnover for H1 2021 posted a low €28.8 million. Net results for tax purposes amounted to a loss of €64.8 million, compared to a loss of €37.8 million over the same period in 2020, in which the company remained open for several months.

“Although Coronavirus also hit our company head-on in the first half of 2021, notably our anniversary year in which we celebrate 45 years in business, we still look ahead with confidence. All in all, Netherlands was deprived of legal casino offer for almost a year, but now that the measures are disappearing little by little, recovery is in sight,” Erwin van Lambaart, CEO of Holland Casino, said.

“We see bright spots in the potential offer of online games of chance as of October 1, for which we have applied for a license, and the opening of our new world-class casino branches in Venlo and Utrecht,” van Lambaart added.

CFO Ruud Bergervoet considers that having sufficient liquid assets in the past six months was key to the company getting through the difficult period of closure. That, along with the NOW scheme, the deferral of tax payments, strict cost control measures and tight operation management, led to the company being able “to safeguard the continuity” of its operations over the past year and a half.

“The significant tax debt of €190.5 million is offset by a strong liquidity position without bank debt. We are therefore considering paying off this tax debt more quickly if no new Coronavirus measures are introduced and the recovery actually continues. The results after June are promising in that regard,” Bergervoet said.

Despite all branches now being open, certain pandemic measures are still being enforced, and Holland Casino is receiving guests at limited capacity in its gambling venues. The company expects that these measures will be phased out, with the hope to open at full capacity and without restrictions “towards autumn.”

“We are also looking forward to the reintroduction of poker, live bingo and our NXT zones so that gaming can really be experienced together again. We also hope to be able to offer our bars and restaurants after midnight, which currently all close at midnight,” van Lambaart said.

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Industry News

Singular Signs 100% of Shares to Flutter Entertainment

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Accountancy firms Crowe UK and Partis Capital have partnered to advise the shareholders of B2B software development company Singular on the sale of its business to Flutter Entertainment.

Singular will sign over 100% of its shares to operator giant Flutter and is the latest company to emerge from the partnership between Crowe and Partis, which provides a combination of M&A expertise and market access; aiding enterprises in the gaming sector with full support on all M&A advisory services.

Darko Gacov, Co-founder and Chief Business Development Officer of Singular, said: “This deal is a huge recognition of Singular and what we managed to build and it furthermore sets the foundation of an exciting next chapter. We look forward to exploring new challenges and opportunities, now being a part of the largest online betting and gaming company in the world.

“Working with Crowe UK, Partis Capital and DWF on the deal has been a really rewarding experience and their help and guidance throughout the process was invaluable in achieving an excellent outcome for the shareholders.”

Justin Edgar, Director at DWF, and Partner Edon Byrnes led the team who advised any legal aspects of the sale to the shareholders on the decision.

Partis Partners, Dan Beard and Stefan Hamann said: “The Crowe and Partis team have had the honour to support the strategic development of Singular over the past few years. It became apparent early in our collaboration that the Singular team had developed an industry-unique iGaming solution that created tremendous value for operators. We congratulate the Flutter and Singular teams on having the foresight to take advantage of this opportunity to create a very powerful partnership.”

Matteo Timpani, Corporate Finance Partner of Crowe UK, said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to support the Singular team throughout this transaction which represents another iGaming deal delivered by Crowe and Partis.

“The company and culture that the Singular shareholders managed to create is an amazing achievement. We look forward to watching both Singular and Flutter flourish following this important strategic acquisition and wish them every success in the future.”

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