In many sports betting tests, the bookmaker’s license is repeatedly referred to. But what are these licenses actually all about? In the following guide we have taken a closer look at the sports betting license and want to shed some light on it. We also take a look at the legal situation in Germany
Why is a license important?
Every business on the Internet has something to do with trust. No sports bettor really knows their counterpart – the tips are given almost anonymously. Of course it is theoretically possible that a windy businessman puts a sports betting portal on the World Wide Web and simply wants to collect customer money. This is certainly the most serious form of cheating.
On the other hand, the “bookie” may have meant well, but simply does not have the financial background to run a betting business. Logically, the bookmakers have the mathematical advantage over their customers, but it can still happen that very large sums have to be paid out within a very short time. Sports betting is always a small competition between the provider and the customer – the outcome is open. The sports betting license confirms the seriousness of the betting provider on the one hand, but also its integrity and financial background on the other. Only those who can show a corresponding license may legally sell bets via the online channel. Of course, the stationary bookmakers also need a corresponding license.
Surely some newcomers will now ask themselves where the sports betting license can be viewed. Every good online bookmaker publishes this safety data on their website. As a rule, the necessary information can be found at the bottom of the homepage or in the imprint. If this is not the case, alarm bells should be ringing for users. Never sign up on a website that does not provide sports betting license details.
Who Gets a Sports Betting License?
The sports betting license is only granted upon application by the respective supervisory authorities. To do this, the companies must disclose their complete financial situation. In addition, a not inconsiderable fee and a deposit must be paid. This is where the wheat separates from the chaff.
Of course, the company owners and managing directors are also closely scrutinized. Only those who can prove their seriousness have a chance of a sports betting license. The money is not the only or the decisive award criterion.
Which supervisory authorities are considered particularly safe?
In Europe, Malta and Gibraltar have proven to be pioneers in the online scene in recent years. The two small states have taken advantage of the disagreement of the “big ones” and have proven to be a safe haven for sports betting operators. Anyone who thinks that the settlement of bookmakers in the two countries is only associated with tax advantages is greatly mistaken. Both supervisory authorities ensure a legally impeccable betting environment – for betting providers and customers alike. The Malta Gaming Authority in particular has also proven to be a very strict controller. If irregularities occur at a bookmaker, the license can be revoked immediately. The Gaming Commission in Great Britain and the supervisory authority on the Isle of Man are also considered progressive in Europe.
It should not be forgotten at this point that the two Caribbean states of Curacao and Antigua and Barbuda also have valuable sports betting licenses. The licenses are in no way inferior to the European paper.
What is the legal situation?
From a legal point of view, sports betting in Germany still has a shadowy existence in the gray area. Although the EU directives have long set the pace and are being implemented by many other countries, things are simply not progressing in the Federal Republic. One grotesque chases the other.
There is still a strong lobby, especially in Berlin government circles, that wants to keep all gambling under state control with all its might. In the field of sports betting there is a special “protection” for the “state bookmaker” Oddset. The fact that the bets at the Toto and Lotto provider are just “bad” is simply left out at this point. What is worse is that the Berlin legislature even gives the fight against gambling addiction as the reason for its blockade. EU requirements have been disregarded or simply ignored for many years.
The permits from Schleswig Holstein
Surely one or the other reader has already heard of a sports betting license from Schleswig-Holstein. In 2012, the Ministry of the Interior of the northern German state actually got down to work to implement the EU directives. The licenses from Schleswig Holstein are valid until 2018 and are legally valid for the entire federal territory. At that time, the North Germans had also refused to join the new State Treaty on Gambling.
At the same time, the Interior Ministry had developed a very fair tax model that would have benefited the state budget. The regulations were enforced by the then CDU-FDP coalition. Incidentally, the consequence was that the federal government felt compelled to include the German betting tax in the racing and lottery law of 1921. Since federal law takes precedence over state law, the progressive North Germans were recaptured with a little legal “trick”. Incidentally, the new red-green state government has now subsequently joined the State Treaty on Gambling.
The current approval process
In the last two years there was the grotesque par excellence. On behalf of the federal government, the Ministry of the Interior should distribute 20 sports betting licenses in Hesse. The problem with the whole affair, however, was that nobody on the part of the legislature could explain exactly why only 20 licenses were issued. At the same time, the selection conditions were unclear from the start.
Logically, this success has not helped the bookmakers until now. The rejected companies have inevitably gone to court. As a result, several administrative judges stopped issuing sports betting licenses.
The “Black Peter” is of course the Hessian Interior Minister Peter Beuth. However, the politician has repeatedly taken a clear position in recent months. The tenor of his statements has long been that every applicant must be granted a license if the necessary requirements are met. Otherwise, the sports betting license could also be played directly at the roulette table.
It is to be hoped that Peter Beuth will be heard in Berlin. The work of the federal government in recent years in terms of sports betting can be summed up as follows: “We start some bubbles without any legal background and then publicly wonder why it didn’t work out”. To put it in the style of government spokesman Seibert: “We worked to the best of our knowledge and belief – I have nothing to add”.