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Germany will ban online gambling starting with January 1st, 2008

Germany will ban any form of Web-based gambling or brokering of games over the Internet, beginning with January 1st, 2008, including the advertising of gaming over the Internet and on television.

Germany ratified an accord that preserves the country’s state monopoly for lotteries and most forms of betting. The new online-betting laws, which expire at the end of 2011, have drawn criticism from Internet betting companies and lottery brokers.

At least 13 of Germany’s 16 states have submitted the ratification documents, Eric Braum, a spokesman for the Hesse government, which monitors the process, said in an interview today, in accordance with Bloomberg. “That’s the required majority and we expect to have all the rest coming in by New Year’s Eve.”

The new laws are very similar to the laws in the U.S. The states may order Internet service providers to block websites of illegal betting operations and banks to stop money transfers to them. Illegal gaming includes placing a bet from German territory over the Internet with a company based outside Germany.

The operators claim the ban is contrary to law. Tipp24 said that “doesn’t see its business model jeopardized” because it expects the new rules to be overturned in court. The company regards the regulations “as clearly contrary to law and will sue for its rights if necessary,” Tipp24 said in a statement Dec. 19.

The European Commission called on Germany to reconsider the total ban on online betting, saying the step was disproportional. In April, Germany rejected that demand, arguing the rules are needed to protect citizens from the dangers of gambling, but the EC can sue EU member states to force them to comply with EU law.

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