The German ‘GlüNeuRStv’ has maintained the much-disputed 5.3% wagering tax on online casino and poker verticals ahead of the launch of its online gambling regime on 1 July.
As the outstanding amendment for Germany’s Bundesrat (federal council) to resolve, the controversial tax received its approval from Bundesländer (state executives) this week as a federal measure of the GlüNeuRStv.
Bundesländer executives had been given until 23-to-24 June to approve the tax amendment or face a rescheduled vote following Germany’s federal state election in September.
Despite last-minute pleas for the tax to be withdrawn, the Bundesrat Finance Committee approved the measure to be voted on by Länder governments on 9 June.
The tax amendment secured its Bundesrat approval, supported by Germany’s governing coalition of Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Christian Social Union (CSU), Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the Green Party.
The approval will see Germany maintain all provisions of the GlüNeuRStv regime, in which – on top of a 5.3% tax on casino and poker – operators have also been forced to modify their products to ensure a €1,000 monthly deposit limit and €1 stake limit on slots.
Further constraints will see in-play markets limited for online bookmakers, who will not be allowed to stream any form of live sporting event.
The tax policy of the GlüNeuRStv has been challenged by the European Betting and Gaming Association (EGBA) who launched an EC complaint against the Bundesrat, stating that the federal council had purposely implemented a discriminative tax against online gambling services.
Criticism of the GlüNeuRStv regime has been well-documented, as during the treaty’s draft phase German sports stakeholders and media owners urged Länder to drop the treaty which was deemed to be ‘out-of-touch with modern consumer realities’.
The GlüNeuRStv has been tentatively supported by the German online gambling associations of DSWV (sportsbook) and DOCV (casino) to ensure regulatory certainty that Germany federally legislates online gambling.
With regards to tax, the trade associations had called for a one-year delay, allowing Länder to form a fair market solution in which new economic proposals had been issued to the Bundesrat for consideration.
Q1 trading saw a number of European-listed operators cite German market complications, noting tough operational adjustments and heightened compliance costs servicing the Interstate Treaty’s provisional regime launch.