Schleswig-Holstein’s incumbent government has survived another attempt to destroy its nascent gambling regime, but now has only four working days left to issue licences before elections in Germany’s northernmost region.
That victory leaves ministers free to issue gambling licences to the 30-plus operators which have already applied, in what would be one of their last acts of government.
The people of Schleswig-Holstein go to the polls on Sunday May 6 with the Christian Democrats, currently in coalition with the libertarian Free Democratic Party (FDP), neck-and-neck with their main opponents, the Social Democrats.
Still, German legal experts are unconvinced they will go through with that immediately.
“It certainly becomes less probable if licences are issued next week,” said Frieder Backu, gaming and tax lawyer at SSW Schneider Schiffer Weihermueller. “Moreover the abolition of the law would still need some time. A new coalition has to be negotiated first.”
Joerg Hofmann, partner at Melchers law firm, agreed: “Once operators are online, the train has left the station.” “Even if politicians would again think about trying to revoke the new law, they would need two hearings in the parliament to pass a new Act. Due to the summer break this won’t happen prior to September or even later.”
With the Greens now the region’s third largest party in the polls, Heinold also ramped up the election rhetoric, stating: “One of the only winners is the gambling industry, which will receive a licence to print money,” she added.