The closure of sports betting shops in the German city-state of Bremen has been dubbed “a political decision.”
Although the city has put its decision down to “money-laundering concerns,” it has been slammed by the industry. Over 30 bookies have had their applications for licences under the current Interstate Gambling Treaty rejected by Bremen.
Hamburg’s politicians believe that criminals have been using the sports betting shops as a means of cleaning money made from drug dealing.
In the German newspaper Weser-Kurier, Ulrich Mäurer, a Bremen senator, said: “At its core, this is about checking the reliability of these operators.
“We also want to guarantee that no money from dodgy businesses like drug dealing or human trafficking is being laundered here and thus flows into legal money cycles.”
Betting shop applicants had been asked to provide evidence of who they had secured start-up funding from, but many failed to do so in the following months,
However, the DSMV, the German Sports Betting Association, has damned the decision to reject licences and said it was a “politically motivated action.”
It accused the local authority of attacking the betting industry to distract from urgent domestic political problems in Bremen.
Mathias Dahms, DSMV president, said: “Members have nationwide permits as organisers of sports betting. The reliability of these providers was put through its paces and the legal origin of their equipment was also proven.”
He said that “extensive, meaningful documents” were provided to Bremen relating to operators’ financial resources and that evidence has been confirmed by money laundering experts.