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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.

Bundesliga clubs will therefore probably soon themselves have the option of advertising for providers of sports bets and online poker such as Bwin.de or Pokerstars.de, who will by then hold a German licence. The potential for sponsoring deals which the online betting sector may soon bring to Germany should bring tears of joy to the eyes of the marketing and finance managers in the sector. According to estimates by the Remote Gambling Association, nine-time Champions league winners Real Madrid received up to 45 million Euro over a three-year-period from the online sports betting provider Bwin.

A factor which at present is still being underestimated in Germany is that online poker as an economic factor can easily keep up with sports betting: Pokerstars, the world’s largest online poker provider, would, for instance, enter the market with an estimated advertising budget of approx. 25 million Euro per year after obtaining a German licence and will probably – as in France with rugby star Sebastien Chabal or in Italy with goalkeeping star Gigi Buffon – close massive sponsoring deals with stars from the German sporting scene.

At the latest from 2012 onwards, it should also be possible for FC Bayern Munich to send out invitations to friendlies to Madrid or Milan without a dress code add-on (“no Bwin shirts, please”). The “Miracle of Schleswig” would then have been achieved.

Wulf Hambach

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