A population of over 83 million people, Europe’s largest economy and a huge appetite for sports, especially football – all factors that should make Germany a haven for betting.
However, as Ted Menmuir observed in a discussion with Dr Matthias Kirschenhofer, Executive Board Member of Sport1 Medien, at Twickenham Stadium, there has been a lot of negative press about Germany following re-regulation last year.
Despite this, Kirschenhofer’s outlook on the future prospects of Germany’s gambling sector remained extremely positive, with the doctor stating that the market will be a ‘big success’ under the Fourth Interstate Gambling Treaty (GlüNeuRStv) regime.
“If you take a look at the 80s, we had a big discussion in Germany about handing out licences to public broadcasters, and a lot of people did not think it was a good idea,” he continued.
“A few years later, it is a big industry and no one discusses about it not making sense, it would be ridiculous.”
Since the implementation of GlüNeuRStv, ratified by Germany’s lander (states), there have been rifts between legislators and the betting industry trade body regarding taxation, marketing and licencing.
He did, however, acknowledge the existence of restrictions on online casino and poker under the GlüNeuRStv framework – but maintained his view that as the market matures under the new regime, improvements will be seen.
“On online casino and poker you have some restrictions, this is clear,” he noted. “There are tax issues, advertising restrictions e.g. for online casino and poker you cannot advertise online because of youth protection from nine in the evening until six in the morning.
“But this is the first step, e.g. you can sponsor all day. We are in very good contact with the regulator and they are establishing a central regulator.”
Germany’s new gambling regulatory authority, the Gluecksspiel (GGL), commenced activities last month, and has already initiated enforcement campaigns, first targeting Lottoland for ‘offering illegal gambling’ in the country.
“They are very competent, transparent and responsive people, with huge expertise. For every gambling operator it will be a good year for Germany,” Kirschenhofer commented.
From the perspective of a media provider – Sport1 Medien is an international company headquartered in Ismaning, Bavaria – Kirschenhofer maintained that the benefits of betting will be felt across the board in Germany.
“We are looking forward to the development of a new industry in Germany, and we as a media company would like to be part of this, in view of cooperation, ad sales and so on,” he reiterated.
Sport1 Medien is well prepared for capitalising on forward momentum in German sports betting, having accumulated rights to Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga matches and launched a popular online sports community.
These holdings, Kirschenhofer argued, have enabled the media company to develop the ‘perfect surrounding for our gambling partners’.
“We are very close to sports betting,” he continued. “The biggest German sports betting operator is sponsoring our second live Bundesliga match, we have a big partnership with Bwin, we have several sports betting partners.
Concluding with a confident outlook, Kirschenhofer remarked that, should German sports betting secure a strong regulatory environment in which it can grow, then both domestic and international operators should look to the market as a lucrative opportunity.