GVC, Tipwin, Gauselmann Among First Operators to Receive German Sports Betting Licenses

  • Licenses were awarded on October 9 and confirmed a few days later
  • Four GVC brands received licenses, including Ladbrokes, Sportingbet, Bwin, and Gamebookers
  • The licensing conditions subject customers to wagering and deposit limits
  • License approvals end a long process of regulation that began in 2012
Brandenburg Gate Berlin
The first German sports betting licenses have been awarded to 15 operators, including GVC, Tipwin, and Gauselmann Group. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

First 15 German licenses

GVC Holdings, Tipwin, and Gauselmann Group are among the list of 15 operators to receive the first sports betting licenses in Germany. The Regional Council of Darmstadt awarded its first licenses on October 9, later confirming the list of companies on October 12. The licenses are active with immediate effect, allowing the operators to continue offering sports betting services in the country.

Bet365, Tipico, and Novomatic-owned Admiral Sportwetten are also among the list of those licensed

GVC, Tipwin, and Gauselmann have all since confirmed their license approvals via public statements. GVC received four licenses, one each for its Ladbrokes, Sportingbet, Bwin, and Gamebookers brands, while Gauselmann got a license for its Malta-based subsidiary Cashpoint. Bet365, Tipico, and Novomatic-owned Admiral Sportwetten are also among the list of licensees.

GVC CEO Shay Segev described the license approval as “great news” for the company. He said: “We can now look confidently to the future, building on our position as a market leader by delivering an unparalleled, innovative experience for our German customers.”

Conditions of the licenses

In receiving a German license, operators must adhere to a number of terms specific to the German market with the aim of promoting safer gambling and protecting customers.

All customers are subject to a wagering limit of €1,000 ($1,182) per month

All customers are subject to a wagering limit of €1,000 ($1,182) per month. This can be increased to €10,000 ($11,814) as long as due diligence is completed and loss limits are applied. For up to 1% of customers, this can go up to €30,000 ($35,441) if the same conditions are met.

Other terms include deposit limits for customers until the verification process is completed, a maximum annual bonus amount of €100 ($118) per customer, and other responsibility requirements. There is no limit to the number of operators that can receive sports betting licenses, but those that do will be taxed 5% of turnover. In-play betting is also prohibited.

Although the licenses have been granted, the timing for the implementation of the terms associated with the licenses is yet to be agreed upon. According to GVC, the terms should be in place early next year. The operator estimates the terms will reduce its total EBITDA by up to £40m ($52.2m) per year once in place.

A long journey to regulation

Commenting on the approval of Germany’s first sports betting licenses, Hesse Minister of the Interior Peter Beuth said it was “the end of a long stalemate in Germany’s regulation of gambling.” Meanwhile, operator association Deutscher Sportwettenverband described it as a “historic day” for the country.

Germany’s process of sports betting regulation dates back to 2012, when the nation’s 16 federal states first approved an Interstate Treaty on Gambling. The treaty aimed to open up Germany’s regulated sports betting market, but it wasn’t until March last year that a final consensus was reached over gambling law.

The Third German State Treaty extended the licensing period for offline and online sports betting operators until June 30, 2021, with the option to extend it another two years after that point.

Darmstadt Administrative Court halted the process again in April

This year, the process experienced even more delays. Although licensing was able to begin from January 2020, the Darmstadt Administrative Court halted the process again in April after it was challenged by Austrian sportsbook operator Vierklee. This was later overruled by the Hesse Administrative Court and the process was permitted to continue.

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