German State Cracks Down on Unlicensed Gambling SitesPublished October 11, 2014 by Arthur M
The German state of Lower Saxony is investigating ways to stop local banks processing transfers to and from unlicensed online gambling sites.
German laws on online gambling effectively ban any operator not controlled by the state. The laws are in something of a legal minefield at the moment, with several appeals and disputes on-going, but the state of Lower Saxony is now discussing ways to block local banks from processing any payments to, and withdrawals from, un-licensed online wagering sites.
Current Legal Status
Under the Interstate Treaty on Gambling that came into force in 2008, almost all online gambling is illegal across Germany, which is allegedly designed to protect German citizens from rouge operators, but it has been argued that it unfairly favours state controlled gambling providers. German legislators are looking to force banks to ban online gambling transactions.
This would appear to be in contradiction of European Union laws, and the EU, as well as a number of online gambling operators, have taken legal steps to clarify, or overturn the current situation.
In 2012, it was announced that twenty gambling licenses would be granted to chosen operators, but despite over 100 applications, there appears to be a state of limbo, with none granted to date, and a court suspending all progress subject to a legal challenge.
Certain states have granted Poker licenses, which are due to be reviewed in 2018, and between now and then, they will not be threatened by the proposed restrictions.
Gambling and German Banks
Lower Saxony is heading the moves to ban unlicensed transactions, by sending cease and desist letters to several online wagering operators. A German Banking Association spokeswoman has said that ''German banking supervisory regulations foresee certain obligations of banks to support state control of gambling activities.''
This means that the banks are likely to co-operate with Lower Saxony and other states to restrict the flow of money to and from these sites, as legally, they are required to operate within the laws of their local states.