Germany’s legal framework after the Carmen Media case

February 17, 2011 News & Reports

A number of European Court of Justice rulings – in particular, the Carmen Media case – have changed the legal basis for Germany’s gambling ban and could possibly pave the way for the end of the German Interstate Treaty on Gambling. Dr. Wulf Hambach and Dr. Michael Hettich, of Hambach and Hambach, discuss the different cases and their impact on Germany’s regulatory gambling framework. … Continue Reading

Tears of joy

January 25, 2011 News & Reports

By Attorney-at-law Dr. Wulf Hambach, Hambach & Hambach law firm, published in SPONSORs 10/2010, p. 68


When I, together with my colleagues at the law firm, submitted an application to the Ministry of Finance in Schleswig-Holstein in 2006, intending to obtain access to the sports betting market in this state for the Gibraltarian online gaming provider Carmen Media Ltd., we obviously were aware of the following: First, we overthrow the German betting monopoly before the ECJ, and then our client can enter the German betting market. But all jokes aside: getting to Luxembourg with this case, and to even win it in the end, was about as likely as making a top Bundesliga side out of a village football team.

At least up to now. After the ECJ judgment of 8 September, the 16 Minister Presidents will probably have lost interest in a monopoly solution. This should now have cleared the way for the elimination of the ban on organising and advertising EU licenced online games of chance. … Continue Reading

ECJ judgment in Carmen Media case causes legal chaos in Germany

October 8, 2010 News & Reports

Article by Dr. Wulf Hambach commissioned for and published in European Gaming Lawyer magazine, Autumn issue 2010.

The ECJ’s judgments on the Carmen Media case on September 8 have plunged the German gambling market into legal chaos, as they found that Germany’s regulations did not limit games of chance in a consistent and systematic manner.

The press coverage of the decision was widespread in Germany. The media suggested that the “end of the German gambling monopoly” seems to be inevitable. Examples of headlines and statements of the German press and media were…

“The German monopoly on lotteries and sports betting and other games of chances is inapplicable with immediate effect.” (Tagesspiegel, September 8, 2010).

“Sport betting is now allowed in Germany.” (Sueddeutsche Zeitung, September 9, 2010).

“The European Court of Justice stops the hypocrisy.” (Die Welt, September 9, 2010). “The Germany monopoly on gambling is illegitimate and – even transitionally – not applicable.” (Tagesspiegel, September 9, 2010).

… Continue Reading

Press release: 9 September 2010: ECJ Judgement in the Carmen Media case (represented by Hambach & Hambach Law Firm):

September 15, 2010 Uncategorized

9 September 2010: ECJ Judgement in the Carmen Media case (represented by Hambach & Hambach Law Firm):

Gücksspielstaatsvertrag (German Interstate Treaty on Gambling) violates Union law – Schleswig-Holstein’s model now trend-setting

After the ECJ’s decision in case C-46/08 Carmen Media, the German gambling monopoly has come to an end. In its decision given today, the ECJ makes it clear that the Verwaltungsgericht (Administrative Court) of Schleswig, in its resolution of 30 January 2008 referring the case for a preliminary ruling, correctly reached the conclusion that the German gambling regulation is not in compliance with Union law (see press release dated 31 January 2008 cms/front_content.php?idcat=7&idart=52&lang=1 ). The chief judge at the VG Schleswig, during the hearing on 30 January 2008, already expressed her view of the legal situation that a state gambling monopoly could only be justified with the objectives of combating gambling addiction if all legal regulations and actual measures taken by a Member state in the entire gambling market, rather than merely the provisions on which the monopoly on sports betting and lotteries is based, are made subject to examination with regard to whether restrictions on games are systematic and consistent. As a logical conclusion, the Verwaltungsgericht of Schleswig referred, among other issues, this question of consistency to the ECJ. … Continue Reading

Focus Europe, Germany: On-line flutters

April 13, 2010 News & Reports

Germany and its federal states have so far adopted an almost puritanical approach to on-line gambling, but, reports Wulf Hambach, pressure is building for legislative reform.

The Interstate Treaty on Gambling (ITG), which came into force at the beginning of January 2008, forms the centre of Germany’s gaming legislation, and has been the trigger for hundreds if not thousands of court cases causing divergent decisions.

The treaty aims at the continuation of the state’s monopoly and a general prohibition of the brokering of on-line games by 2011. To implement this prohibition, the treaty also provides for the issue of suspension orders to German internet service providers.

After having received the draft of the new state treaty, the European Commission started the notification procedure. In March 2007, the EU Commission issued an opinion against Germany in which it determined that the prohibition of the on-line operation and brokerage of gaming was not in compliance with the freedom of services according to Article 49 of the EC treaty. … Continue Reading

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