Schleswig-Holstein Softens Approach to Gaming Treaty

24th December 2009 8:06 am GMT

Following pre-election promises to withdraw from the State Treaty on Gaming at the start of next year, the Prime Minister of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein has said that his government will continue to support the treaty until December 31st 2011, but will not vote for its continuation thereafter.

As reported by Gaming Intelligence, Schleswig-Holstein MP Hans-Jörn Arp went on record on behalf of the state's new coalition government in October, vowing to withdraw from the treaty and stating that an attractive liberal gaming market would substantially increase state revenues versus the current monopoly system where revenue contributions have been in steady decline.

Arp said at the time that the new Schleswig-Holstein government "intends to withdraw from the State Treaty on Gaming at the start of next year", adding that a number of other states had promised to follow suit.

However in a letter sent to the leaders of all German states dated December 22nd, Prime Minister Peter Harry Carstensen said that his state would allow the treaty to expire on December 31st 2011 and would not vote for its extension. Thirteen of the sixteen German states would be required to vote in favour of the treaty for it to be extended beyond 2011.

"Schleswig-Holstein is committed to end the existing state monopoly on gambling," said Carstensen, who believes that a licensing system would serve to better protect consumers as well as ensure continued contributions for sports.

Carstensen states in the letter that despite the treaty and the efforts of regulators, they had failed to effectively block illegal foreign gambling sites on the internet. His proposal would see licences being issued to online gaming operators, thereby once again bringing them under the oversight of the government in order to ensure adequate protection for consumers.

Carstensen called on state leaders to form working groups in order to develop satisfactory alternatives to the existing treaty, in order to replace the current system from January 1st 2012.

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