Germany sucks 

Via Bloomberg:

Germany to Ban Online Gambling Jan. 1 Under Accord by States

By Karin Matussek

Dec. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Online gambling will be banned in Germany as of Jan. 1 after German states ratified an accord that preserves the country's state monopoly for lotteries and most forms of betting.

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. ``That's the required majority and we expect to have all the rest coming in by New Year's Eve.''

All 16 state legislatures voted by mid-December to approve the new online-betting laws, which the states negotiated after the Federal Constitutional Court ruled in 2006 that the former model was unconstitutional. The new rules, which expire at the end of 2011, have drawn criticism from Internet betting companies and lottery brokers like Bwin Interactive Entertainment AG, Fluxx AG and Tipp24 AG.

The new rules ban any form of Web-based gambling or brokering of games over the Internet. The states may order Internet service providers to block Web sites of illegal betting operations and banks to stop money transfers to them. The rules' definition of illegal gaming includes placing a bet from German territory over the Web with a company based outside Germany.

The regulations also will outlaw advertising of gaming over the Internet and on television. Advertising in print and other media may no longer ``directly invite, incite or prompt'' customers to play; it may only ``inform'' about the possibility to do so.

Unlike the ban in the USA on banks funding online gaming sites, I would guess that Germany intends to put some actual teeth in this law. Nanny-state laws in general seem to be a lot stronger over on the other side of the pond.

This is quite disappointing. A disproportionate number of fishies whose online poker monies I have been winning seem to have come from Germany. Maybe the EU will force Germany to overturn the ban, I dunno.


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