German states postpone discussions on Interstate Treaty amendments until February 2018

Following a meeting of the Prime Ministers of the German states on 19 and 20 October 2017, the German states have postponed further discussions on the future plans for gambling regulation in the country until February next year.

Earlier this year, the Prime Ministers of Germany’s 16 states had reached agreement on a draft law to amend the Interstate Treaty (the “Treaty“). The amendments to the Treaty were set to remove the cap on the number of sports betting licences available, and provide for the award of licences to the 35 operators who satisfied the minimum licensing standards in the original licence tender, on its entry into force (with a target date of 1 January 2018).

During the meeting of the Prime Ministers, the state of Schleswig-Holstein reiterated its decision not to ratify amendments to the Interstate Treaty on Gambling but enact its own gambling legislation. Despite the other states indicating they will continue ratification proceedings, the amendments to the Interstate Treaty require ratification by all German states. Thus, we understand that Schleswig’s move to not ratify the Treaty will effectively stop the amendments from becoming effective on 1 January 2018 and, as such, uncertainty continues with regard to the future of gambling regulation in Europe’s largest country by population.