Germany’s state of Lower Saxony this week ordered an unnamed payment service provider to refrain from processing transactions related to illegal online gambling.
Last summer, the state issued a similar order, yet again to an undisclosed online payment processor, which was widely believed to be PayPal as the company announced in August 2019 that it was shutting down its services to German online casino players.
Earlier this week, Lower Saxony’s Ministry of Interior and Sports announced that it has “once again prohibited an internationally active payment service provider from participating in payment transactions in connection with illegal gaming in Germany.”
The state’s Ministry of Interior and Sports is the responsible gaming supervisory authority in Germany under the country’s Third State Treaty on Gambling.
Under that treaty, online casino-style gaming and poker activities are prohibited from being conducted on the territory of Germany except the state of Schleswig-Holstein.
The country’s gambling law, which is only a temporary one until a permanent framework takes effect in mid-2021, permitted interested sports betting operators to apply for licenses and operate in a regulated environment. However, the Darmstadt Administrative Court earlier this month halted Germany’s sports betting licensing process until further notice, saying that it was marred by lack of transparency and other issues.
War on Payment Processors
In a Monday statement, Lower Saxony Minister of Interior and Sports Boris Pistorius reminded payment service providers that they are “legally obliged to refrain from making payments in connection with illegal gambling” and that if they fail to refrain from such activities Lower Saxony lawmakers “will take action.”
The Ministry further said Monday that more prohibition orders in connection with illegal gambling-related transactions are in preparation.
Minister Pistorius also noted that the Ministry expects financial services firms to live up to their responsibilities “and to critically review and, if necessary, immediately stop working with companies that practice illegal gambling.”
Earlier this year, the Lower Saxony Minister of Interior and Sports sent a letter to Germany’s banking sector warning financial institutions to refrain from processing illegal gambling money.
On a more positive note, Minister Pistorious praised the successful measures taken by individual payment service providers, saying that these show “an effective approach is possible and has an impact in the industry.”
As mentioned above, the errant payment processor was not identified by Lower Saxony officials, but there have been reports that the recent prohibition might have yet again been issued to PayPal. According to industry sources, the major financial services firm was listed earlier this year as an available payment option with some Germany-facing online gambling operators.