4th symposium on gambling law in Berlin: solutions following the failure of the Interstate Treaty on Gambling

photo credit: AutomatenMarkt

On October 6, 2016, the fourth symposium on gambling law was held in Berlin’s symbolic historical "lecture theater ruin" of Charité. More than 70 representatives from politics, industry, legal and tax consultancy, and science discussed the political, legal, and economic aspects of current issues and challenges of regulating betting, money games, and games of Chance.

The participants agreed that the Interstate Treaty on Gambling failed in its current version, because it is incompatible with key requirements of constitutional and Union law. Under the current regulatory approach, no pacification of the legal situation and a legalization of the existing black and gray markets are not to be expected. Against this background, the participants discussed the major issues of a future-oriented reorientation of betting and gambling law in Germany:

After a welcome address by lawyer Michael Schmittmann (Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, Düsseldorf), the discussions in the first session led by Sebastian Frevel (Advicepartners GmbH, Berlin) dealt with the disaster of the failed sports betting licensing and the access of federal and state law to the German gambling market.

  • Professor Dr. Martin Nolte (Institut für Sportrecht, Deutsche Sporthochschule Köln) sprach zum aktuellen Stand der deutschen Glücksspielregulierung aus der Perspektive des Sports.
  • Additional keynotes were presented by retired minister Jörg Bode (deputy chairman of the FDP parliamentary group in the Lower Saxony state partliament) and
  • Mathias Dahms (German Sports Betting Association (DSWV)) on the current state of gambling legislation in Germany.

In the second session, participants, led by lawyer Dr. Dirk Uwer (Hengeler Mueller, Düsseldorf), discussed the economics, law, and taxation of gaming and sports betting offerings beyond state monopolies:

  • Filling in for Professor Dr. Dr. Franz W. Peren (Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences), lawyer Dr. Susanne Koch (Hengeler Mueller, Duesseldorf), gave a lecture on the quantitative assessment of regulated and non-regulated games of chance and gambling offerings in the German market.
  • A lecture by lawyer Professor Dr. Clemens Weidemann (Gleiss Lutz, Stuttgart) on consequences and hypocrisy in state arcade law followed.
  • Subsequently, Dr. Henrik Bremer (Bremer Heller Rechtsanwälte, Hamburg) gave an overview of German gambling and betting taxation in international tax law comparisons.

The lectures in the third session, led by lawyer Michael Schmittmann, dealt with gambling advertising in radio, TV, and multimedia formats. Dr. Mathias Kirschenhofer (Sport1 Media GmbH, Munich) and Joachim Becker (State Institution for private radio and new media (LPR Hessen), Kassel) gave a lecture on the duality of advertising guidelines under the Interstate Treaty on Gambling and state media law.

In the symposium’s proven format, the lectures and discussion sessions again offered participants the opportunity to an open, interdisciplinary, and controversial exchange. Ultimately, the participants agreed that the German states will have to fundamentally revise the Interstate Treaty on Gambling, in order to finally adapt the legal situation in Germany to constitutional and Union legislation and to create legal certainty for providers, consumers, media, and sports.

The presentations of the speakers and summaries of the subsequent discussions will be published in a forthcoming symposium book in Medien und Recht publishing house.

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