An Internal Competitive Market for Germany

7 November 2006

Not so long ago, the prime ministers of Germany's federal states joyfully agreed on a new draft, regulating the new State Lottery Treaty, which would keep the monopoly in place.

Less than two weeks later, thanks to the Bundeskartellamt (the federal antitrust authority), the 16 regional betting operators are facing a demand by the country's antitrust authority to make their online services available nationwide by Nov. 18, 2006. If they don't do that, they will be fined--possibly millions of euro.

Up to this point, each of the country's 16 federal states has had its own betting organization, and cross-border sales throughout Germany have not been allowed.

The Bundeskartellamt forwarded last week to 14 of the 16 betting organizations warnings that if they would not open up the complete Germany's territory, they would fine them immediately with a financial penalty of 1 million euro. So the German antitrust authority have created an internal German market, where for the first time, European Lotteries (EL) members are competing with other EL members!

North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony, Brandenburg and Schleswig-Holstein have announced that they will obey the verdict. Two betting organizations did not receive the letter because they started immediately after the verdict with sales and promotions throughout Germany.

At the moment, it is unclear what the other state betting organizations will do, but it looks like that all 16 organization will obey the court decision and will open up Germany with a market of 82.4 million inhabitants.

Rob van der Gaast has a background in sports journalism. He worked for over seven years as the head of sports for Dutch National Radio and has developed new concepts for the TV and the gambling industry. Now he operates from Istanbul as an independent gambling research analyst. He specializes in European gambling matters and in privatizations of gambling operators. Rob has contributed to IGN since Jul 09, 2001.