Casinos for youOperators called on German authorities to loosen their grip on gambling regulations and allow for transparent and reasonable licensing processes. Lawmakers seem to believe that their way is the only option at the cost of the player.
One year after the launch of Germany's Fourth Interstate Treaty on gambling, Stockholm-based gambling giant Kindred announces its withdrawal from the German market. The decision comes because of inefficient licensing processes, according to reports.
Effective 1 July, German gamblers will no longer have access to Kindred's Unibet platform, and Kindred Group withdraws all pending licence applications until processes and laws become more favourable. Kindred executives believe that although they stand to lose out on the massive market, their shift of focus to North America mitigates losses.
The news of the loss follows a year of unfruitful licensing in Europe's largest gambling market since regulatory revisions took effect in July 2021.
Kindred revealed to media agencies that the company plans to withdraw its flagship platform, Unibet, from Germany. The company also indicated that any outstanding licence applications would cease as well. All operations continue until 30 June 2022, whereafter players from Germany will no longer have access to any Unibet services.
Sources cite that a Kindred spokesperson noted the decision followed unsustainable practices within the German market. The operator believes the restrictive regulatory environment undermines effective business strategies. Although the market has tremendous potential, Kindred believes that only once the authorities ease up on bureaucratic processes it will be a viable endeavour for them.
In response to a news agency, Kindred wrote:
"The current application procedures, as well as the terms and restrictions in specific product offerings, means that the overall conditions are not sustainable and competitive against the unlicensed offering."
While the company moved its focus to other priorities, their response indicated an open door to changing philosophies from German lawmakers.
The Swedish operator is not the first to point out Germany's weighty and unrealistic regulations or its cumbersome licensing process. Others have noted their interest in the market only once realistic regulations replace the current Draconian limitations. By throwing in the towel, Kindred implies that Germany's overly restrictive gambling laws motivated stepping away from the potential presented by the largest European nation. Kindred states:
"Our long-term strategic direction sets out locally regulated markets as the core engine for our growth, however, licence application procedures, licence conditions, and the regulatory environment need to be transparent, sustainable, and financially viable for a market to be competitive."
After jumping through application hoops and holding out for a German licence for two years, Kindred confirms that it simply is illogical to continue services in the country.
Should Lawmakers Fold?
Those gamblers who prefer to play with licensed and regulated casinos within their country have little to no options in Germany. Although the sixteen states of the European country concluded their Interstate Treaty on gambling, the law-abiding citizens remain limited to a handful of operators.
The first slot provider, which passed the rigid licensing process, received approval 10 months after the launch of the regulated market. Some states indicated their approval for state licences, but outcomes are yet to be seen.
As Kindred pointed out, a sustainable regulated market needs transparency and reasonable practices to support a competitive landscape for multiple operators. Without this, the players have no alternative but to use unscrupulous offshore platforms.
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