Bwin, Ladbrokes, and GGPoker are among the well-known online poker brands that will be debuting as regulated operators in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt at a near-future but as yet unspecified date.
Entain PLC, the parent company of bwin and Ladbrokes, announced last week that it had become the first operator to receive licensing from Saxony-Anhalt’s gaming regulators, while GGPoker parent NSUS issued a similar announcement today.
Germany’s online-gambling licensing situation is more complex than in other European countries. Federal authorities struggled through a years-long legislative battle that allowed for various forms of online gambling to be licensed and regulated. However, the actual regulatory approval takes place at the state level, meaning that each of Germany’s 16 states can issue its own operating licenses.
In that regard, online-gambling regulation and licensing is roughly parallel to that in the United States and Canada in North America, where operators’ licensing occurs on the state/provincial level. Saxony-Anhalt, located in the heart of Germany, has a population of 2.19 million and includes just over 2.5% of the country’s 83 million citizens. Saxony-Anhalt’s population is a little more than twice that of the U.S. state of Delaware, for a gambling-relevant comparison.
Upon receiving the Saxony-Anhalt approval, Entain’s Chief Governance Officer, Robert Hoskin, said, “We’re delighted to now have our licenses for gaming and poker services in the regulated German market, enabling us to offer and market them to our customers. It is an important and welcome step towards achieving the goal of a fully regulated online betting and gaming market in Germany. Only through such regulation and its enforcement will we avoid the reality of customers going to the black market where there are none of the safeguards that reputable operators such as Entain guarantee.”
NSUS Germany’s Sven Stiel offered a similar take: “We are delighted to have gone the long and constructive path with the German authorities. We are now able to offer our high-quality, innovative and secure poker environment officially and legally backed. This is the decisive step towards modern iGaming in Germany under professional and customer-oriented conditions.”