Sports Betting Shops in Bremen, Germany Reopen, Several to Remain Closed

Posted on: September 29, 2022, 11:07h. 

Last updated on: September 30, 2022, 04:19h.

Sports betting shops in the German city of Bremen have been closed since July. The command was given by a politician who equated the activity to money laundering. Some are finally back in business, although a handful didn’t receive permission to reopen their doors.

XTip Sportsbook
The exterior of an XTip sports betting shop in Germany. The city of Bremen is allowing sportsbooks to reopen, but several will remain closed. (Image: XTip)

Bremen’s Senator for Internal Affairs, Ulrich Mäurer, announced in July and August that he wanted to close all 32 sports betting offices in the city. In his opinion, they had not convincingly explained where their founding capital came from.

But on Sept. 26, he announced that most are now going to return to the market, according to a press release. Since the end of last week, the regulatory office issued five new permits. It will issue additional permits in the next few days, according to the press release; 14 of them failed to pass his scrutiny.

Since July, the Bremen regulatory office has checked thousands of pages of documents and balance sheets from sports betting agencies in the city. The experts from the regulatory office had backup from two delegated employees from the tax office to try to complete the exercise quickly.

Picking Apart the Market

Three out of six applications in Bremerhaven are currently under review, and there are still four applications to be examined. The 14 sports betting shops that won’t open didn’t show any indication of money laundering, according to Mäurer. However, processing their paperwork by the regulatory office found issues preventing them from operating.

The office denied permission in eight cases because of “unreliability” on the operator’s part. The review determined that the operators of those shops have criminal records, which prevent them from being in the business.

In the other six cases, there were issues regarding the location of the shops. Retail sports betting stores must be at least 250 meters (820 feet) from health centers and schools. Those six didn’t measure up.

Worth the Hassle and Losses

Mäurer said the “labor-intensive inspection was worth it.” He admitted that most operators could confirm the legitimacy of their startup funds. He also pointed out that the office came across “dubious” people in charge when reviewing the industry. This, he said, should be cause for concern.

The German Sports Betting Association wasn’t happy with the entire ordeal. It accused the decision of being a “politically motivated arbitrary action.”

Even after it finishes issuing the permits, the regulatory office isn’t going to stop its scrutiny. The gaming supervision and the security service regularly check the sports betting offices on site.

In addition, the Bremen police investigate all indications of illegal gambling and initiate appropriate action as necessary.