Glücksspielstaatsvertrag: Der Wortlaut des Schreibens der EU-Kommission

Von | 21. März 2012
Foto: Andreas Stix / pixelio.de

Foto: Andreas Stix / pixelio.de

Die EU-Kommission hat zu dem Entwurf der 15 Länder für ein Glückspielstaatsvertrag Stellung genom­men. Das Schreiben wird in der Politik sehr unter­schied­lich inter­pre­tiert. Damit sich jeder eine Meinung bil­den kann, ver­öf­fent­licht das Landesblog den Wortlaut des Schreibens.

Dass man ein Ereignis poli­tisch unter­schied­lich beur­tei­len kann, ist nor­mal. Wenn die schrift­li­che Stellungnahme einer Behörde für den einen aber „Siehste, kein Ja“, für den ande­ren jedoch ein „Siehste, kein Nein“ ist, dann muss Wahlkampf sein — und das Thema mit­ten­drin.

Im Hin und Her um den Glücksspielstaatsvertrag (Das Landesblog berich­tet dar­über viel­fäl­tig) hat die EU-Kommission den 15 der 16 deut­schen Bundesländer, die am Glücksspielstaatsvertrag fest­hal­ten wol­len, Fortschritte beschei­nigt. Schleswig-Holstein hat­te einen eige­nen Weg beschrit­ten und eine, nach eige­nen Angaben von der EU gebil­lig­te, EU-Rechtskonforme, Regulierung des Glücksspiels gesetz­lich auf den Weg gebracht — die in den Augen der Opposition das Land zwi­schen den Meeren zum El Dorado der Glücksspielritter macht.

Nach über­ein­stim­men­den Meldungen (die Zitate aus der Kommission schei­nen auf eine dpa-Anfrage zurück­zu­ge­hen) begrüß­te EU-Binnenmarktkommissar Michel Barnier die Anstrengungen der Länder, auf die Bedenken der EU-Kommission ein­zu­ge­hen. Es gebe aber wei­ter­hin „poten­zi­el­le ver­blei­ben­de Schwächen in der geplan­ten Gesetzgebung“, auf die der deut­sche Gesetzgeber noch ein­ge­hen sol­le. Das nun abge­schlos­se­ne(!) Verfahren bedeu­te aber nicht, dass „grü­nes Licht“ für den Vertrag gege­ben wer­de.

Der Rheinland-Pfälzische Ministerpräsident Kurt Beck begrüß­te dar­auf­hin flugs „das posi­ti­ve Votum“ aus Brüssel. Die EU-Kommission habe heu­te mit­ge­teilt, dass sie „kei­ne Bedenken mehr“ gegen den Glücksspielstaatsvertrag habe.

Das emp­fin­det Ralf Stegner, Vorsitzender der SPD-Landtagsfraktion, eben­so. Er ver­mei­det zwar den Begriff „posi­ti­ves Votum“, spricht aber auch davon, die Kommission habe „kei­ne Bedenken mehr“: Die EU-Kommission habe „den Weg frei­ge­macht, den Glücksspielstaatsvertrag neu zu ord­nen.“ Der von der der CDU-FDP-Koalition in Schleswig-Holstein ein­ge­schla­ge­ne Sonderweg sei damit hin­fäl­lig. Schleswig-Holstein müs­se nun „in den Kreis der ande­ren Bundesländer“ zurück­keh­ren.

Ganz anders ist die Wahrnehmung bei CDU und FDP. Für sie ist klar: „Wieder kein grü­nes Licht aus Brüssel für den Vertrag der 15!“ Der stell­ver­tre­ten­de Vorsitzende der CDU-Fraktion, Hans-Jörn Arp, und der Vorsitzende der FDP-Landtagsfraktion, Wolfgang Kubicki, kom­men­tier­ten die Entscheidung: „Uns war immer klar, dass die Europäische Kommission auch den nach­ge­bes­ser­ten Entwurf der 15 ande­ren Bundesländer nicht akzep­tie­ren wird. Die in der begrün­de­ten Stellungnahme der EU-Kommission im Sommer geäu­ßer­ten Bedenken wur­den nicht ent­kräf­tet. Es liegt kei­ne abschlie­ßen­de posi­ti­ve Stellungnahme der EU-Kommission zum Vertrag der 15 vor.“

Der Deutsche Lottoverband (DLV), ein Zusammenschluss der im Bereich der Vermittlung und des Vertriebs von Lotto und ande­ren Lotterien täti­gen pri­va­ten Unternehmen, sieht in der Stellungnahme nicht die „abschlie­ßen­de posi­ti­ve Stellungnahme“, die die übri­gen Länder zur Voraussetzung gemacht hät­ten, um den Ratifizierungsprozess ein­zu­lei­ten. Der Verband bewer­tet das Schreiben so:

  • Die Kommission kön­ne die „Gesamtkohärenz des Glücksspieländerungsstaatsvertrages noch nicht beur­tei­len“, da dazu alle glücks­spiel­recht­li­chen Vorschriften, also auch Bundesrecht zu Pferdewetten und Automatenspielen, geän­dert und noti­fi­ziert wer­den müs­se.
  • Der Abschluss des Notifizierungsverfahrens bedeu­te nicht auto­ma­tisch, dass die Regelung uni­ons­rechts­kon­form sei. Die spä­te­re Einleitung eines Vertragsverletzungsverfahren sei nicht aus­ge­schlos­sen
  • Die Kommission habe eine Erklärung dafür gefor­dert, war­um gewerb­li­che Spielvermittler ins­ge­samt 32 Einzelerlaubnisse für eine bun­des­wei­te Tätigkeit ein­ho­len müs­sen. Der DLV weist hin­ge­gen dar­auf hin, Sportwettenlizenzen und Erlaubnisse für Klassenlotterie-Einnehmer gel­ten bun­des­weit.
  • Die Kommission wei­se erneut dar­auf hin, dass Geeignetheit und Verhältnismäßigkeit von Beschränkungen für Sportwettenlizenzen nach­ge­wie­sen wer­den müs­sen.
  • Die Kommission erin­ne­re mehr­fach dar­an, dass Erlaubnisverfahren trans­pa­rent und nicht­dis­kri­mi­nie­rend aus­ge­stal­tet sein müs­sen und bestehen­de, also staat­li­che, Anbieter nicht bevor­zugt wer­den dür­fen.
  • Die Kommission kön­ne nicht ein­schät­zen, ob die sehr restrik­ti­ven Lizenzbedingungen ein wirt­schaft­lich trag­fä­hi­ges lega­les Glücksspielangebot in Deutschland ermög­li­chen – was nach Auffassung des Verbandes Voraussetzung für die Geeignetheit des Lizenzsystems sei.
  • Es gebe kein Nachweis von beson­de­ren Geldwäsche- und Suchtgefahren bei Online-Kasinospielen und Poker.
  • Die Geeignetheit und Verhältnismäßigkeit des Totalverbots für Online-Kasinospiele und Poker sei nicht nach­ge­wie­sen wor­den.
  • Werberichtlinien soll­ten zur Überprüfung ein­ge­reicht wer­den, sobald die­se erstellt sind.
  • Die Kommission erin­ne­re die Länder erneut an ihre wei­ter bestehen­den Notifizierungspflichten, etwa in Bezug auf die Ausführungsgesetze zum Änderungsstaatsvertrag.
  • Und schließ­lich for­de­re die Kommission die Länder mehr­fach zur zeit­na­hen Evaluierung des Glücksspieländerungsstaatsvertrages auf, die Ergebnisse sind der Kommission mit­zu­tei­len.

Damit man sol­che Stellungnahmen für, gegen und über den Inhalt eines Schreibens über­haupt nur ansatz­wei­se ein­ord­nen kann, ist es not­wen­dig, den Wortlaut des Schreibens zu ken­nen. Dies umso mehr, als sich der Landtag auf Antrag von SPD, Grünen und SSW mit dem „Beitritt des Landes zum Glücksspielstaatsvertrag“ befas­sen soll. In dem Antrag heißt es:

Nach der erfolg­rei­chen Notifizierung des Glücksspielstaatsvertrages der Länder ist die wesent­li­che Begründung der Fraktionen von CDU und FDP für den Schleswig-Holsteinischen Sonderweg einer sepa­ra­ten Glücksspielregelung ent­fal­len. Der geän­der­te Glücksspielstaatsvertrag der 15 Bundesländer erfüllt die euro­pa­recht­li­chen Anforderungen und ist mit­hin eine rechts­si­che­re Grundlage für die Regulierung des Glücksspielmarktes in Deutschland.

1.    Der Landtag for­dert die Landesregierung daher auf, dem Glücksspielstaatsvertrag der übri­gen Bundesländer bei­zu­tre­ten und die Vergabe von Lizenzen auf der Grundlage des schles­wig-hol­stei­ni­schen Glücksspielgesetzes unver­züg­lich aus­zu­set­zen.

2.    Der Landtag erklärt sei­ne Bereitschaft, ein Gesetz zur Aufhebung des Glücksspielgesetzes in der 27. Tagung des Landtages in Erster und Zweiter Lesung zu bera­ten und zu ver­ab­schie­den.

 

Damit also alle wis­sen, wor­um es geht, hier der Wortlaut des Schreibens:

 

 

Message 791 Communication from the Commission — SG(2012) D/​50777
Directive 98/​34/​EC
Notification: 2011/​0188/​D

Reaction of the Commission to the respon­se of a Member State noti­fy­ing a draft regar­ding a detail­ed opi­ni­on (9.2)

(MSG: 201200777.EN)
1. MSG 791 IND 2011 0188 D EN 16-08-2011 20-03-2012 COM REACTION 16-08-2011

2. Commission

3. DG ENTR/​C/​3 — BREY 08/​94

4. 2011/​0188/​D — SERV60

5. -

6. In accord­ance with the noti­fi­ca­ti­on pro­ce­du­re under Directive 98/​34/​EC, on 15 April 2011, Germany noti­fied the above-men­tio­ned draft law to the Commission.

The draft Act intro­du­ces a regu­la­to­ry frame­work for the orga­ni­sa­ti­on and ope­ra­ti­on of bet­ting and gam­bling on the Internet, ther­e­by aiming at a limi­ted and con­trol­led ope­ning of the­se mar­kets. As such, the noti­fied draft con­ta­ins rules on Information Society Services wit­hin the mea­ning of Article 1 (5) of Directive 98/​34/​EC as amen­ded by Directive 98/​48/​EC name­ly rules spe­ci­fi­cal­ly gover­ning Information Society Services.

On 18 July 2011 the Commission sent its obser­va­tions to the German aut­ho­ri­ties, taking the form of a detail­ed opi­ni­on and com­ments. On 7 December 2011 the German aut­ho­ri­ties respon­ded to the­se obser­va­tions.

Examination of the respon­se has promp­ted the Commission ser­vices to issue the fol­lo­wing com­ments, which put an end to the pro­ce­du­re under Directive 98/​34/​EC.

1. Detailed Opinion

In its detail­ed opi­ni­on the Commission rai­sed con­cerns in view of (1) the restric­tions on the offe­ring of on-line gam­bling ser­vices and (2) the pro­vi­si­on on hos­ting and inter­me­dia­ti­on of casi­no games and poker in the Internet.

(1) The restric­tions on the offe­ring of on-line gam­bling ser­vices

The Commission obser­ved that with refe­rence to the main objec­tives put for­ward by the German aut­ho­ri­ties (i.e. chan­nel­ling the consumer’s demand into a con­trol­led sys­tem, and com­ba­ting crime and fraud) and while it does not object to strict licen­sing con­di­ti­ons as a mat­ter of princip­le, it fai­led to see how a limi­ta­ti­on of the total num­ber of licen­ces for the offe­ring of on-line sport bet­ting ser­vices would be sui­ta­ble to achie­ve the objec­tives set out. The German aut­ho­ri­ties were thus requi­red to pro­vi­de an ana­ly­sis of the appro­pria­teness and pro­por­tio­na­li­ty of the restric­tions in this regard.

The Commission also noted in this con­text, that strict licen­sing con­di­ti­ons – imply­ing limits on sta­kes, types of bets and adver­ti­sing pos­si­bi­li­ties, com­bi­ned with a limi­ted num­ber of avail­ab­le licen­ses in regard of the over­all size of the mar­ket and a very high gam­bling levy see­med in view of their cumu­la­ti­ve effect to ren­der it very dif­fi­cult to pro­vi­de an eco­no­mi­c­al­ly via­ble and sub­se­quent­ly relia­ble and attrac­tive on-line sports bet­ting offer.

The German aut­ho­ri­ties sta­te that in a revi­sed draft trea­ty a num­ber of con­di­ti­ons have been modi­fied:

• the num­ber of sports bet­ting licen­ces has been increa­sed from 7 to 20, with a pos­si­bi­li­ty to review this num­ber on the basis of expe­ri­ence gathe­red in the app­li­ca­ti­on of the new sys­tem,
• the gam­bling levy has been decrea­sed from 16 2/​3 % on sta­kes to 5 % on sta­kes,
• the mon­th­ly limit on sta­kes has been increa­sed from 750€ to 1000€ and can also be indi­vi­dual­ly set in the licence,
• cla­ri­fi­ca­ti­on on the scope of the adver­ti­sing ban during sports events („right befo­re and during the live broad­cas­ting of a sports event”),
• intro­duc­tion of a pro­gres­si­ve sche­du­le for the initi­al and the annu­al licen­sing fee, based on the expec­ted admi­nis­tra­ti­ve costs for and the tur­no­ver of the indi­vi­du­al licence hol­der.

The Commission ser­vices wel­co­me the­se chan­ges. They agree with the German aut­ho­ri­ties that com­ba­ting the ille­gal mar­ket, pre­ven­ting addic­tion, and fighting the cri­mi­nal and frau­du­lent activi­ties lin­ked to gam­bling are amongst the over­ri­ding rea­sons in the public inte­rest capa­ble of jus­ti­fy­ing restric­tions to the free­dom to pro­vi­de ser­vices. The Commission ser­vices fur­ther­mo­re agree that in this respect a Member State is in princip­le ent­it­led, if it pur­su­es the objec­tive to redu­ce gam­bling oppor­tu­nities, to esta­blish a sys­tem of aut­ho­ri­sa­ti­on and in that respect to lay down restric­tions as to the maxi­mum num­ber of ope­ra­tors aut­ho­ri­sed.

The Commission ser­vices howe­ver would like to rei­tera­te that such restric­tions must be sui­ta­ble for achie­ving the objec­tives sought and satis­fy the con­di­ti­ons laid down in the Court’s case-law as regards their pro­por­tio­na­li­ty. While the Commission ser­vices do not ques­ti­on the cau­tious approach taken by the German Federal States it would like to resta­te that the sui­ta­bi­li­ty and pro­por­tio­na­li­ty of the mea­su­res needs to be pro­per­ly demons­tra­ted. In this respect the Commission ser­vices would also like to remind the German aut­ho­ri­ties that the pro­ce­du­re for the gran­ting of licen­ses needs to be orga­nis­ed in a trans­pa­rent and non-discri­mi­na­to­ry man­ner, sub­jec­ting incum­bent and new ope­ra­tors to the same con­di­ti­ons and time­li­ne.

The Commission ser­vices wel­co­me the pro­po­sal of a review clau­se allo­wing for a sub­se­quent adjust­ment of the num­ber of licen­ces, should it be reco­gnis­ed that the objec­tives of the trea­ty can­not be ade­qua­te­ly rea­li­sed on the basis of the num­ber of licen­ses gran­ted.

The Commission ser­vices also wel­co­me the pos­si­bi­li­ty to adjust, under cer­tain con­di­ti­ons, the limit on sta­kes in the licence and thus to take into account the situa­ti­on of par­ti­cu­lar play­ers and ope­ra­tors, in full com­pli­an­ce with the princi­ples of trans­pa­r­en­cy and non-discri­mi­na­ti­on

With regard to its con­cern that in regard of their cumu­la­ti­ve effect, the restric­tions impo­sed may ren­der it very dif­fi­cult to pro­vi­de an eco­no­mi­c­al­ly via­ble, hence relia­ble and attrac­tive licit on-line sports bet­ting offer, the Commission ser­vices note that the Federal States are now con­vin­ced that on the basis of the revi­sed con­di­ti­ons it will be pos­si­ble for the future licen­sees to pro­vi­de an attrac­tive, legal offer and at the same time ope­ra­te pro­fi­ta­b­ly. On the basis of the infor­ma­ti­on pro­vi­ded by the German aut­ho­ri­ties the Commission ser­vices are not in a posi­ti­on to assess the eco­no­mic via­bi­li­ty of the future online sports bet­ting sys­tem. However, they would like to high­light the need for a con­ti­nuous eva­lua­ti­on of the imple­men­ta­ti­on and app­li­ca­ti­on of the future trea­ty. They the­re­fo­re wel­co­me the com­mit­ment of the German aut­ho­ri­ties to pro­vi­de the Commission with a first eva­lua­ti­on of the regu­la­to­ry mecha­nism to be put in place, aimed at asses­sing the sui­ta­bi­li­ty and effi­ci­en­cy of the sys­tem for the achie­ve­ment of the objec­tives of the trea­ty, wit­hin two years from the ent­e­ring into force of trea­ty.

(2) Hosting and inter­me­dia­ti­on of casi­no games and poker in the Internet

The Commission ques­tio­ned the intro­duc­tion of an esta­blish­ment requi­re­ment for on-line casi­nos and poker (only land-based casi­nos were allo­wed to offer on-line casi­no games and poker) and asked for fur­t­her infor­ma­ti­on on the aut­ho­ri­sa­ti­on pro­ce­du­re (only one land-based casi­no in a Federal State was allo­wed to offer on-line casi­no and poker games) and on the imple­men­ta­ti­on of the pro­vi­si­ons for poker games. In respon­se to the­se obser­va­tions the German aut­ho­ri­ties sta­te that they cho­se to dele­te the pro­vi­si­on in ques­ti­on. The revi­sed draft text does not allow for any kind of on-line casi­no and poker game offer.

The German Federal States now jus­ti­fy the ban on on-line casi­no and poker games by sta­ting that „in light of the fact such games are high­ly vul­nerable to rig­ging and have signi­fi­cant addic­tion poten­ti­al, as well as the fact they are vul­nerable to being exploi­ted for the pur­po­ses of money laun­de­ring, it does not appe­ar to be jus­ti­fia­ble to open up the Internet as a dis­tri­bu­ti­on chan­nel”. The aut­ho­ri­ties claim that „the objec­tives of com­ba­ting the black mar­ket, pro­tec­tion of young peop­le and pro­tec­tion from addic­tion are not attain­ab­le through chan­nel­ling in the sec­tor, but rather should be pur­sued through a con­ti­nu­al admi­nis­tra­ti­ve pro­cess with the help of the instru­ments exp­lai­ned in Section 9 of the trea­ty.”

In view of the above, it is worth recal­ling that the Court of Justice of the EU has ack­now­led­ged that a pro­hi­bi­ti­on mea­su­re covering any offer of games of chan­ce via the inter­net may, in princip­le, be regar­ded as sui­ta­ble for pur­suing the legi­ti­ma­te objec­tives of pre­ven­ting inci­te­ment to squan­der money on gam­bling, com­ba­ting addic­tion to the lat­ter and pro­tec­ting young per­sons, even though the offer of such games remains aut­ho­ri­sed through more tra­di­tio­nal chan­nels (case C-46/08, Carmen Media, para­graph 105). The Court fur­ther­mo­re reco­gnis­ed that ensu­ring the objec­tive of com­ba­ting the cri­mi­nal and frau­du­lent activi­ties lin­ked to gam­bling is amongst the over­ri­ding rea­sons in the public inte­rest capa­ble of jus­ti­fy­ing obsta­cles to the free­dom to pro­vi­de ser­vices (see case C-243/01, Gambelli and Others, para­graph 67).

Whilst in the case at issue the rea­sons invo­ked to jus­ti­fy the ban appe­ar to con­sti­tu­te valid public inte­rest objec­tives, the Commission ser­vices note that no data has been pro­vi­ded to addu­ce evi­dence of the exis­tence of the risks iden­ti­fied. In this con­text the Commission ser­vices would like to rei­tera­te that the sui­ta­bi­li­ty and pro­por­tio­na­li­ty of the mea­su­res in ques­ti­on needs to be esta­blished to the requi­si­te stan­dard.

In the con­text of the assess­ment of whe­ther such a stan­dard is met, it would need to be deter­mi­ned whe­ther, first, cri­mi­nal and frau­du­lent activi­ties lin­ked to gam­bling and, second, gam­bling addic­tion are signi­fi­cant pro­blems in Germany and whe­ther the ban of cer­tain types of games or gam­bling on the inter­net is capa­ble of sol­ving such pro­blems (see to that extent case C-258/08, Ladbrokes Betting & Gaming and Ladbrokes International, para­graph 29). Indeed, it is sett­led case law that if a Member State wis­hes to rely on an objec­tive capa­ble of jus­ti­fy­ing an obsta­cle to the free­dom to pro­vi­de ser­vices ari­sing from a natio­nal restric­tive mea­su­re, it should sup­ply all the evi­dence of such a kind as to enab­le a pro­per assess­ment if the said mea­su­res do inde­ed ful­fil the requi­re­ments ari­sing from the princip­le of pro­por­tio­na­li­ty (see case C-316/07, Stoß and Others, para­graph 71). On the basis of the infor­ma­ti­on pro­vi­ded by the German aut­ho­ri­ties the Commission ser­vices are not yet in a posi­ti­on to assess the extent of the pro­blems iden­ti­fied or the sui­ta­bi­li­ty and pro­por­tio­na­li­ty of the mea­su­re pro­po­sed.

In this respect and not­wi­th­stan­ding the above, the Commission ser­vices would like to high­light again the need for a con­ti­nuous eva­lua­ti­on of the imple­men­ta­ti­on and app­li­ca­ti­on of the trea­ty. It the­re­fo­re wel­co­mes the com­mit­ment of the German aut­ho­ri­ties to pro­vi­de the Commission with a first eva­lua­ti­on of the regu­la­to­ry mecha­nism in place, asses­sing the sui­ta­bi­li­ty and effi­ci­en­cy of the ban on online casi­no and poker games for the achie­ve­ment of the objec­tives of the trea­ty, in par­ti­cu­lar in view of the cur­rent deve­lop­ment of the on-line poker mar­ket in Germany, wit­hin two years from the ent­e­ring into force of trea­ty.

2. Comments

The Commission ser­vices wel­co­me the explana­ti­on and infor­ma­ti­on given in respon­se to the com­ments sub­mit­ted to the German aut­ho­ri­ties. The Commission ser­vices would like to take the oppor­tu­ni­ty to fur­t­her com­ment to a num­ber of points made in their reply:

• 2.1. Licensing pro­ce­du­re for sports bet­ting and con­di­ti­ons of par­ti­ci­pa­ti­on – Sections 4a and 4b

The Commission ser­vices now under­stand that the ten­der noti­fi­ca­ti­on will spe­ci­fy the indi­vi­du­al con­di­ti­ons and cri­te­ria, inclu­ding inter alia the “soci­al con­cept” (mea­su­res to ensu­re the exclu­si­on of minors and bar­red play­ers and other soci­al mea­su­res) and the “pro­fi­ta­bi­li­ty con­cept” (descrip­ti­on of the eco­no­mic via­bi­li­ty taking into account the duty to pay taxes), used by the com­pe­tent aut­ho­ri­ties as the basis for making deci­si­ons on app­li­ca­ti­ons in order to ensu­re a trans­pa­rent licen­sing pro­ce­du­re that is based on objec­tive and non-discri­mi­na­to­ry cri­te­ria.

The Commission ser­vices wel­co­me that by intro­du­cing an expli­cit pro­vi­si­on sta­ting that docu­men­ta­ry evi­dence and docu­ments from ano­t­her Member State or ano­t­her Signatory State to the Agreement on the European Economic Area are tanta­mount to domestic docu­men­ta­ry evi­dence and docu­ments the German aut­ho­ri­ties will take due account of the requi­re­ments to which the app­li­cant ope­ra­tor is alre­ady sub­ject in the coun­try whe­re it is esta­blished.

• 2.2. Right to set up a sales net­work of land-based sports bet­ting out­lets, Section 10a (5)

The Commission ser­vices wel­co­me the cla­ri­fi­ca­ti­on that the ope­ning of a land-based bet­ting out­let is not requi­red as a pre­re­qui­si­te for the issuing of a licence for the pro­vi­si­on of online bet­ting ser­vices. The Commission ser­vices under­stand that gran­ting per­mits for the ope­ning of a bet­ting out­let is now the indi­vi­du­al com­pe­tence of each Federal State. In this respect the Commission ser­vices would like to remind the German aut­ho­ri­ties that such a pro­ce­du­re also needs to be orga­nis­ed in a trans­pa­rent and non-discri­mi­na­to­ry man­ner.

• 2.3. Licensing requi­re­ments for incum­bent ope­ra­tors, Sections 10a (1), 10 (6) and (2) and 2.9. Transitional peri­od

The Commission ser­vices wel­co­me the cla­ri­fi­ca­ti­on that incum­bent and new ope­ra­tors will only be able to offer on-line gam­bling ser­vices after having been gran­ted a licen­se under the new trea­ty, i.e. an aut­ho­ri­sa­ti­on accord­ing to Section 4 (5), and that the­se ope­ra­tors are sub­ject to the same licen­sing con­di­ti­ons and time­li­ne.

• 2.4. Authorisation of gam­bling bro­ke­ring ser­vices

The Commission ser­vices wel­co­me the explana­ti­ons given by the German aut­ho­ri­ties and the chan­ges announ­ced with regard to the aut­ho­ri­sa­ti­on of gam­bling bro­ke­ring ser­vices. Section 19 (2) now fore­sees a bund­led pro­ce­du­re in which one aut­ho­ri­ty grants all gene­ral aut­ho­ri­sa­ti­ons for the offe­ring of gam­bling ser­vices (aut­ho­ri­sa­ti­on accord­ing to Section 4 (1)). The Commission ser­vices under­stand howe­ver that this does not mean that the respon­si­ble aut­ho­ri­ty will grant one aut­ho­ri­sa­ti­on covering the who­le ter­ri­to­ry of Germany but rather that it will grant up to 16 indi­vi­du­al aut­ho­ri­sa­ti­ons for the Federal States con­cer­ned, poten­ti­al­ly on the basis of dif­fe­rent licen­sing requi­re­ments for each Federal State and thus in fact still requi­ring indi­vi­du­al app­li­ca­ti­ons for each Federal State.

Furthermore, the bund­led pro­ce­du­re does not seem to app­ly to sec­tion 4 (5) impo­sing the obli­ga­ti­on to obtain a per­mit for the pro­vi­si­on of gam­bling bro­ke­ring ser­vices in the Internet. As a per­mit is necessa­ry for each German Federal State (Section 9 (4)), it seems that in addi­ti­on to the bund­led pro­ce­du­re for the gran­ting of the gene­ral gam­bling aut­ho­ri­sa­ti­on an on-line com­mer­ci­al bro­ker will still have to app­ly in each Federal State for an aut­ho­ri­sa­ti­on for the offe­ring of on-line gam­bling ser­vices (aut­ho­ri­sa­ti­on accord­ing to Section 4 (5)) in order to be able to offer his ser­vices on the who­le German ter­ri­to­ry.

The Commission ser­vices would like to invi­te the German government to exp­lain why a revi­sed trea­ty would merely intro­du­ce a bund­led pro­ce­du­re for the aut­ho­ri­sa­ti­on of on-line gam­bling bro­ke­ring ser­vices and would not defi­ne a uni­form pro­ce­du­re, also in view of the fact that the noti­fied draft alre­ady crea­ted such a pro­ce­du­re for the aut­ho­ri­sa­ti­on of lotte­ry collec­tors (Section 9a (1)) and on-line sports bet­ting ser­vices (Section 9a (2) 3).

• 2.5. Limitation on sta­kes, Section 4 (5) No 2

The Commission ser­vices wel­co­me the explana­ti­on given on the rea­so­n­ing jus­ti­fy­ing the limi­ta­ti­on on sta­kes. It wel­co­mes the intro­duc­tion of a more fle­xi­ble approach, allo­wing for the adjust­ment of the limit in the operator’s licence. An adjust­ment might be necessa­ry for indi­vi­du­al ope­ra­tors or play­ers in order to bet­ter achie­ve the objec­tives of the trea­ty.

• 2.6. Advertising of on-line bet­ting ser­vices in the Internet, Section 5 (3)

The Commission ser­vices take note of the explana­ti­ons given on the app­li­ca­ti­on of the adver­ti­sing rules. It would respect­ful­ly request the German aut­ho­ri­ties to trans­mit the adver­ti­sing gui­de­li­nes men­tio­ned in Section 5 (4) to the Commission once the­se gui­de­li­nes have been drawn up.

• 2.10. Limiting bet­ting activi­ties in a con­sis­tent and sys­te­ma­tic man­ner

The Court in its assess­ment of the com­pli­an­ce of the German regu­la­to­ry frame­work for gam­bling ser­vices expli­cit­ly refer­red to rules on types of games (slot machi­nes and hor­se racing, see Case C-46/08 Carmen Media) which are not ful­ly cove­r­ed by the noti­fied text but also sub­ject to regu­la­ti­on at federal level. The Commission ser­vices under­stand that the­se rules have alre­ady been part­ly amen­ded through their inclu­si­on in the draft (wit­hin the com­pe­tence of the Federal States) and will also be amen­ded in federal legis­la­ti­on. While the Commission ser­vices wel­co­me fur­t­her explana­ti­ons given by the German aut­ho­ri­ties in their respon­se to the detail­ed opi­ni­on it will only be in a posi­ti­on to assess com­pli­an­ce with the requi­re­ment of a con­sis­tent and sys­te­ma­tic approach once all rele­vant legis­la­ti­on has been amen­ded and noti­fied.

• 2.11. Further noti­fi­ca­ti­on obli­ga­ti­ons

Future decrees imple­men­ting the pro­vi­si­ons of the noti­fied draft and rela­ting to elec­tro­ni­cal­ly trans­mit­ted gam­bling ope­ra­ti­ons could con­tain tech­ni­cal regu­la­ti­ons or rules on infor­ma­ti­on socie­ty ser­vices wit­hin the mea­ning of Directive 98/​34/​EC. Should this be the case, the Commission ser­vices would like to remind the German aut­ho­ri­ties of the obli­ga­ti­on to noti­fy them befo­re adop­ti­on, in accord­ance with Directive 98/​34/​EC.

Finally, the Commission ser­vices would like to recall that the mecha­nism set up by Directive 98/​34/​EC as amen­ded by Directive 98/​48/​EC is based on the obli­ga­ti­on of the Member States to inform and con­sult each other and the Commission befo­re they adopt natio­nal rules aimed spe­ci­fi­cal­ly at infor­ma­ti­on socie­ty ser­vices and to modi­fy their drafts if necessa­ry. Following the noti­fi­ca­ti­on of a draft text, the Commission and the Member States exami­ne the­se rules in order to assess their com­pa­ti­bi­li­ty with Union law, par­ti­cu­lar­ly with the free move­ment of ser­vices and the free­dom of esta­blish­ment of ser­vice ope­ra­tors, and to reach a deci­si­on, whe­re necessa­ry, on their con­sis­ten­cy with the con­cer­ned pro­vi­si­ons.

It should be poin­ted out in this regard that in the frame­work of the Directive 98/​34/​EC, the Commission does not exami­ne the com­pa­ti­bi­li­ty of rules not aimed spe­ci­fi­cal­ly at infor­ma­ti­on socie­ty ser­vices, even if they are part of the noti­fied text, or, in such a situa­ti­on, the com­pa­ti­bi­li­ty of the draft text as a who­le.

It should also be recal­led that when a Member State has ful­fil­led all its obli­ga­ti­ons resul­ting from the Directive, it can adopt the draft mea­su­res noti­fied and amen­ded as the case may be. After the adop­ti­on of the draft, the pro­ce­du­re is deemed to be fina­li­sed. However, the ter­mi­na­ti­on of the pro­ce­du­re under Directive 98/​34/​EC can­not per se be deemed to imply com­pli­an­ce with EU law. Such ter­mi­na­ti­on is without pre­ju­di­ce to the pos­si­bi­li­ty for the Commission to sub­se­quent­ly initia­te infrin­ge­ment pro­cee­dings in regard of cer­tain noti­fied or amen­ded pro­vi­si­ons, as appro­pria­te.

Catherine Day
General Secretary
European Commission

Von:

Swen Wacker, 49, im Herzen Kieler, wohnt in Lüneburg, arbeitet in Hamburg.

Ein Gedanke zu “Glücksspielstaatsvertrag: Der Wortlaut des Schreibens der EU-Kommission”:

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