Sports betting is becoming more widely accepted and embraced worldwide, with regulations easing in a number of nations as politicians and regulators realize the true potential of legalizing and taxing this always-popular activity.
Germany is the latest country to make major changes to how sports betting is handled, so here is a look at the impact that the latest regulations are likely to have on the industry as a whole and how this trend is being interpreted elsewhere internationally.
Achieving mainstream legitimacy
The first licenses handed out to a select group of gambling companies by German authorities in October of 2020 is a watershed moment for sports betting. This act legitimizes the practice of placing bets on events ranging from Formula 1 to football and even esports, with both bricks and mortar outlets as well as online sports betting services being covered by this move.
It is worth noting that this change has not come out of the blue; indeed for the past 12 months a phased approach to integrating betting websites into the regulatory framework surrounding gambling in Germany has been ongoing, and industry campaigners have spent several years trying to push for this legislation to be introduced.
In terms of the operators that have been amongst the 15 initial recipients of licenses to offer sports betting in Germany, many are already established in other markets. The UK-based GVC and the Maltese-registered Tipwin, for example, have been stalwarts of this scene for some time and are thus well positioned to deliver comprehensive betting services to customers in Germany who are making their first forays into this ecosystem.
Domestic brands including Gauselmann are also frontrunners in this brave new era of sports betting, ensuring that there should be healthy competition and a good level of choice so that consumers are not limited in their options.
Building on existing demand
Like many other places around the world, Germany already had a healthy market for sports betting, although players had little choice but to use sites based overseas in order to make wagers prior to the recent change in regulations.
While the issuing of official licenses for sports betting services to operate on German soil is clearly a positive from the point of view of generating tax revenue, it should also be seen as sensible from a consumer perspective. Players can now enjoy all of the advantages of betting via services which adhere to the minimum standards set by the state, which gives them various protections and affords them a means to make complaints and get support if issues arise.
Indeed a number of the sites which now have licenses to deliver sports betting to German customers have been keen to point out that they already meet or exceed the standards that regulators have now set in stone. This is a testament to just how much evolution has occurred within the wider online gambling industry around the globe, with significant growth in recent years helping to improve the experience for customers.
The domino effect
Germany is just the latest nation to accept the fact that while sports betting in particular may face criticism from certain corners of society, it is a pastime which will nevertheless remain popular whether or not it is legally permitted and regulated. The obvious solution to tackling illegal gambling, which leaves consumers exposed to a raft of issues, is to standardize and license the industry and thus control and manage it more closely.
A similar state of affairs has been seen elsewhere worldwide, most notably in the USA where a decision made by the supreme court back in 2018 paved the way for the provision of sports betting in any states which wish to roll out their own regulated, licensed marketplace for such activities.
There are still countries in which only state-owned monopolies are permitted to operate sports betting services, not only decreasing the choice for consumers but also meaning that a slimmer number of sports and events are covered. This leads to further use of overseas sites, perpetuating the potential problems which players may face as covered earlier.
Furthermore there are a significant group of nations which continue to outlaw all forms of gambling, or have yet to step in and formalize their stance on the use of web-based casino services, in spite of the fact that this industry has been gaining traction for over two decades.
Hopefully the changes seen in Germany and the expected benefits that they will bring about will be enough to convince other governments to follow suit.