Online Poker To Make Its Legal Debut in Germany Through Entain

Entain has left its mark on the German online gaming industry. After having already received licenses to offer online slots, it is now the first operator to receive a license to offer online poker.

German flag
German flag
The German flag flies outside the country’s Reichstag Parliament building. The online gaming space is expanding as Entain receives licenses to operate online poker. (Image: Shutterstock)

It has taken more than a year for Germany to reach this point. Until now, in addition to sports betting, online slots were all that made up the online gaming space. More than a dozen platforms are available across the country, but consumers have had no legal option for roulette, blackjack or other games.

That is about to change. The State Administrative Office (SAO) of Saxony-Anhalt issued five licenses to Entain, two of which allow it to offer online poker through brands Bwin and Ladbrokes brands.

Headway In Germany

These are the first two internet poker licenses the SAO has issued since Germany approved new gaming laws last year. The office is responsible for issuing all online gaming licenses in the country.

The five new licenses will be valid for five years. They are in addition to Entain’s existing licenses that allow online sports betting in Germany under each brand.

Bwin, Ladbrokes and Sportingbet, another Entain platform, will be able to offer iGaming across the country through the other three licenses. This gives Bwin and Ladbrokes, with a larger array of games, a leg up on the competition for customers in many states across Germany.

Not all Germans will be able to take advantage of the new options, though. The state of Saxony has a monopoly on its gaming market, and its state-owned casino Sachsische Spielbanken controls the online space.

Sachsische Spielbanken received a license from the SAO earlier this month to offer online slots. The company also controls Saxony’s land-based casinos.

Headwinds In Australia

Entain may be expanding its footprint in Germany, but it is facing legal troubles for trying to do the same in Australia. The company recently announced an advertising deal with clubs and bars in New South Wales (NSW), and Tabcorp is crying foul.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Australian bookmaker has initiated legal proceedings against Entain over a deal it struck with the Australian Hotels Association (AHA). The arrangement allows Entain to advertise its products at member pubs and hotels.

Tabcorp is also going after the AHA’s NSW division in the lawsuit. It claims neither the organization nor Entain didn’t disclose the nature of the partnership before finalizing it, which may violate the “Unlawful Gambling Act of 1998.” Tabcorp had to sign off on the agreement for it to receive a green light.

Tabcorp is the only company that can operate retail betting in the state’s hotels and pubs. This is thanks to a long-standing agreement that is in place until 2033. It stated in the proceedings that if it had known Entain’s advertising intentions beforehand, it would not have approved the deal due to Tabcorp’s exclusive rights agreement with the AHA.

Tabcorp could drop the hammer on Entain if it doesn’t change its advertising stance with the AHA. This could conceivably lead to financial damages claims against both Entain and the AHA.

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