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Wirecard Dismisses Allegations in Breaching Germany’s Online Gambling Legislation

Today, the leading specialist for financial technology and payment services Wirecard opposed to a report, according to which the company may be breaking German laws.

As reported by the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, the report stated that Wirecard may be violating local legislation by managing payments carried out by gambling operators to their customers. Citing the “Paradise Papers” research, the local media revealed that a number of banks, including Wirecard Bank, have been used by online casinos to process their payments. Currently, online casinos are not legal under German legislation.

According to the interior ministry of the German state of Lower Saxony as well as a number of unnamed legal and banking specialists, such banks and financial institutions could be held responsible for helping illegal gambling operations across the country, as well as operations associated with money laundering.

Wirecard issued a special statement to answer to the allegations, with the company’s spokeswoman saying that they deny such description of the situation. She further explained that the company was in line with the country’s laws in every way possible, so it was relaxed about the possible consequences related to the matter.

Online Gambling in Germany

Despite the fact that all forms of land-based gambling are currently legal and well-developed in Germany, online gambling is officially prohibited as of January 2017. The only exception of this regime is the Schleswig-Holstein state.

Online gambling has been a controversial issue in Germany for some time now, and especially over the past year. First, iGaming operations were suspended in the country by the Federal Gambling Law after an interstate agreement was reached in 2008.

Gambling is a matter that is put under state regulation and control, so the state of Schleswig-Holstein could refuse inking the agreement and make its online gambling legislation of its own. As a result from the state decision not to be part of the interstate treaty, Schleswig-Holstein became the only state in Germany which provided online gambling websites with operating licenses, with all German players being allowed to reach the companies’ services.

Then, in 2012, the a review of the treaty was carried out, with the interstate treaty being amended as a result. Under the changes implemented in the interstate agreement, online casinos remained banned, but web-based lotteries and some online sportsbook are allowed to legally offer their services across the country.

This time, the state of Schleswig-Holstein decided to sign the amended version of the agreement. As a result, the state is no longer able to issue operating licenses to online gambling companies but operators who had a valid license at the time were provided with the chance to offer their services to the its full duration of up to six years.

The online gambling ban in Germany, however, applies to domestic online gambling only. Last year, the European Union issued a ruling that the country’s authorities are not allowed to ban unlicensed foreign operators, as the latter were not given the opportunity to acquire licenses. Local players are also not penalised for playing at foreign online casinos.

 Author: Hannah Wallace

Hannah Wallace has been part of our team since the website was launched. She has a master’s degree in IT.