In Germany the prime ministers of the 16 federal states have been meeting in Berlin to adopt a new state gambling treaty that will fully regulate the country’s online gambling market as from July 1, 2021.

The final outcome is very much expected from the draft version of the regulation. To the disappointment of many insiders, the new regulation is seen to be a messy compromise because of the widely varying attitudes towards online gambling between the different states.

This is expected to lead to many online players becoming frustrated with the over-regulation and instead switching to illegal sites. This has always been the main worry of the German gaming industry.

As Dr Jörg Hofmann, of Melchers Law, has been quoted as saying: “If the aim is to channel players towards regulated operators the current approach is completely misguided.”

Dr Dirk Quermann of the Gauselmann Group, who is also president of the Deutscher Online Casinoverband, said that the number of operators of virtual  games, such as online roulette and blackjack, would be very limited, possibly resulting in only one licence holder in each state.

But he added: “The states will now start the EU notification procedure. We will see if there will be some detailed comments from other member states, such as Malta. In addition, the states have agreed to evaluate the new treaty before the end of 2023.”

The next step in the procedure will be for the plan to be sent to the European Commission for approval. That move is expected to take three months and the new treaty will go to all 16 state parliaments for ratification. This is expected to be completed later this year. If the law is to come into effect on July 1 next year, a minimum of 13 states will have had to ratify the treaty by March 31, 2021.