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(Online casino games)

Law on the Authorisation of Online Casino Games in North Rhine-Westphalia

(Online Casino Game Law NRW – OCG NRW)

The notified draft law is intended to regulate the offer of online casino games within the meaning of § 3(1a) of the State Treaty on Gambling 2021 (GlüStV 2021) in North Rhine-Westphalia. The notification is made because it cannot be excluded that parts 1 to 4 and 6 of the draft contain provisions that are subject to notification regarding services within the meaning of Directive (EU) 2015/1535. With regard to tax legislation (Part 5), a notification obligation is not accepted.

The draft is based on the rules of the State Treaty on Gambling 2021 (Notification No 2020/0304/D), which entered into force on 1 July 2021. Section 4(4) in conjunction with Section 22c of the State Treaty allows the federal states, within the regulatory framework laid down by the State Treaty, to host online casino games on their territory or to grant concessions for the organisation of online casino games.
According to § 3(1a) GlüStV (State Treaty on Gambling) 2021, online casino games are virtual replicas of bank-holder games and live broadcasts of a terrestrial bank-holder game with the possibility of participating over the Internet. The draft therefore covers only online bank-holder games such as roulette or blackjack. For virtual slot games (online slots) and online poker, the State Treaty on Gambling 2021 provides for its own authorisation models. These are not the subject of the notified draft.
For the national legislation governing the regulation of online casino games, the State Treaty on Gambling 2021 provides a framework of directly applicable rules and frameworks. Within this predetermined framework, the notified draft shall, in particular, make the following arrangements:
- In North Rhine-Westphalia up to five online casino gaming licenses are to be granted. The limitation of concessions is the result of the provision in Section 22c of the GlüStV (State Treaty on Gambling) 2021.
- With a concession, online casino games in North Rhine-Westphalia can be played via an Internet domain to be defined in the license.
- The award of the license will be carried out on the basis of a Europe-wide call for tenders in a transparent and non-discriminatory procedure. The provisions of Part Four of the Act against Restrictions of Competition in the version published on 26 June 2013 (BGBl. IS. [Federal Law Gazette] 1750, 3245) is dispensed with.
- Mandatory conditions for the grant of a license shall be laid down. This includes, in particular, the reliability of gambling law.
- Licenses shall be granted for a limited period of ten years.
- The scope of the license is limited to the territory of North Rhine-Westphalia. This means that, in principle, only persons domiciled or habitually resident in North Rhine-Westphalia may participate, unless the competent authority permits any other, equally effective limitation.
- License holders need a separate gambling permit for the respective game to offer individual games. This is granted if it is not necessary to ensure that the game runs counter to the objectives of § 1 sentence 1 of the State Treaty on Gambling 2021 (especially protection of minors, protection against gambling addiction and prevention of manipulation) or that a provision of this law would conflict with the event.
- A game permit can be issued for all traditional forms of online banker games:
1. Virtual replicas of banker games
2. Live broadcasts of banker games from a one under the Casino Act NRW of 29 May 2020 (GV. NRW. S. 363) licensed casino in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and
3. Live broadcasts of banker games from other premises in the state of Rhine-Westphalia.
- For a live broadcast of banker games from other premises, these must be in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Authorisation may be granted for a maximum of two sites per supplier, in particular to be able to ensure effective control of manipulation.
- Participation in the games performed on the premises is only permitted via the Internet. In the event of a transfer from the casino, players in the casino and over the Internet may participate in the same table, provided that the rights of all participants and persons concerned are respected.
- The supervisory authority and its responsibilities and supervisory measures are specified.
- For the evaluation of the safe server required by the State Treaty on Gambling 2021, the authority of another federal state may be entrusted by means of an administrative agreement.
- The duties and taxes of the license holders shall be regulated.