Lottery Limbo

Liberalizing the Lotto

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    German states have a monopoly on gambling in the country. But they could open the market to foreign operators.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Private lottery operators are currently prohibited in Germany.
    • Some foreign operators get round the rules by taking bets on state lottery draws, using EU licenses, issued in tax havens like Gibraltar.
    • The German lottery market is worth 4 billion ($4.48 billion) a year.
  • Audio

    Audio

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Lucky numbers: German lotteries are a billion-euro market. Source: DPA

Germany’s 16 states sell about €4 billion, or $4.48 billion, worth of lottery tickets every year. And they are protected by German laws that prohibit private lottery operators from entering the market to boot. Yet some private firms have successfully managed to circumvent the state monopoly on draw-based gambling by operating so-called secondary lotteries from abroad, often from tax havens such as Gibraltar or Malta.

And now, with the liberal Free Democratic Party, or FDP, entering state of Schleswig-Holstein’s government, access to the lottery market in Germany might finally be in reach.

Secondary lottery companies such as the Gibraltar-based Lottoland don’t sell tickets to the state lottery, but offer bets on their draws instead. The association of Germany’s state lottery operators, DLTB, claims such private firms are illegal since they don’t have a German license.

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