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Germany, new gambling law in the state of Baden-Württemberg

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The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action and the Ministry of the Interior, Digitalisation and Local Government Baden-Württemberg have communicated to the European Commission a draft law amending the state law on online casino gaming.

With this Bill, the Gambling Act of the State of Baden-Württemberg (LGlüG) will be adapted to the changed legal situation of the State Treaty on Gambling 2021 (GlüStV 2021). The Land Baden-Württemberg uses the possibility provided for in Article 22c, paragraph 1, point 1 of the GlüstV 2021 to organize online casino games for its territory under a monopoly regime. The bill provides for the creation of a new tax for the control of the planned online casino offer by amending the Tax Ordinance of the Ministry of the Interior. Using the option set out in Article 22c (1) of the GlüStV 2021, the aim is to provide citizens of the Land Baden-Württemberg with a safe alternative to illegally offered online casino games and to channel existing interest in this type of games in legal channels. It can be assumed that people living in Baden-Württemberg would otherwise continue to play with illegal providers who have not taken the necessary measures for the protection of players and minors.

Article 22c (1) of the GlüStV 2021 offers the Länder the possibility to choose between a monopoly solution and a concession solution, whereby the number of licenses for offering online casinos is limited to the number of licenses for land-based casinos which could be released from 17 January 2020. At its meeting on 9 March 2021, the Council of Ministers of the State of Baden-Württemberg decided to make use of § 22c GlüStV 2021 in the form of a monopolistic solution. Compared to a concession solution, this has the advantage that the state guarantees a legal offer in which it also has control over effective protection of players and youth. This will facilitate the supervision of gambling law. In view of the high addictive potential of online casino games and the risks of manipulation, which predominantly come from the operator participating in the game itself as a dealer, effective monitoring is essential. The concession solution would also require a European-wide tender for the award of the concession, so that rapid implementation is expected.

In view of the comparability of the risk potential of online casino games with online poker games and virtual slot machines, the draft law provides for similar requirements for granting a license. Audiovisual or purely visual broadcasting of casino games from a casino or other location within or outside the state of Baden-Württemberg is permitted. The organizer may use third parties if he is certain that they satisfy all the requirements necessary to carry out the task. Similar to virtual slot machines and online poker, the specific design of the online casino game offering is reserved for regulation within the scope of the permit. The bill also aims to ensure adequate taxation of online casino games. So far, there are no regulations for the taxation of online casino games, which now have to be created following the eligibility of online casino games.

The costs incurred for monitoring the offer of the online casino are paid. The costs for using the save server rating system of the Joint Federal Gambling Authority (GGL) are also included. To this end, a new tax will be established through an amendment to the Tax Ordinance of the Ministry of the Interior.

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