European Union Declares Germany's Online Gaming Laws Are Illegal

European Union Declares Germany's Online Gaming Laws Are Illegal 0001

Good news for online gamblers in Germany, as the Court of Justice for the European Union (CJEU) recently ruled against the country's restrictive online gaming laws.

The court case involved the country's online sports-betting laws, however, it is believed by advocates that the logic and legal arguments should be able to be applied to overturn other online gaming regulations, including for online poker.

The ruling isn't a surprise to many following the legal developments surrounding online gaming in Germany. PokerFuse reported that in October Judge Advocate General Maciej Szpunar issued an opinion warning that the country is required to rewrite gaming laws that are in contradiction to that of European Union (EU) legislation.

"Further to a judgment of the Court from which it can be inferred that a national law is not compatible with EU law, all organs of a Member State concerned are under an obligation to remedy that situation," Judge Advocate General Szpunar stated late last year.

History of German Online Gaming Legislation

Poker gained in popularity throughout the last decade, and the country was on the the game's center stage when Pius Heinz became the first German poker player to win the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2011.

The same year Heinz won the WSOP Main Event, the country enacted a gaming law with no restrictions on the amount of licenses that could be granted. While many applauded this at the time, just a few months later 15 of the 16 German states prohibited online poker after approving the German Interstate Treaty on Gambling.

Many online gaming operators chose to ignore this legislation believing that it was not in compliance with that of EU law.

Impact May Go Beyond Germany

The CJEU ruling also could prove to be good news for online poker players living in countries with restrictive gaming laws, such as Sweden. According to Poker Industry Pro, the Swedish gaming regulator granted the state gaming monopoly Svenska Spel a three-year license extension expiring in 2018, the country is also already working on new gaming laws.

It is believed that some Swedish legislators are reacting to the European Commission's referral to the European Court of Justice in October 2014, which claims that the country's online gaming monopoly is "imposing restrictions on the organization and promotion of online betting services in a way which is inconsistent with EU law."

Some legislators, led by Sweden's Minister of Public Administration Ardalan Shekarabi, are pushing for a new online gaming regime before the country's general elections in September 2018.

Stay tuned at PokerNews as more develops in the German gaming marketplace.

*Image courtesy of Priit Kallas/

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  • The Court of Justice for the European Union declared Germany's online gaming laws are illegal.

  • What effect will the CJEU ruling have on other countries such as Sweden?

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