Gambling, especially sports betting, has become a highly political topic in Germany. Several public hearings have recently been held by political parties. The prime ministers of the 16 German states have passed the draft of a new Interstate Treaty on Gambling calling for a complete ban of the provision and advertising over the Internet. However, the European Commission, in a formal letter to the German government, has already declared this ban to be inconsistent with community law. The European Commission announced that it will initiate an infringement procedure if the treaty is signed into law. So, at the moment, it looks as if there are even more court cases to come.
In 2009, Gibraltar-based Carmen Media sued for the right to offer bets over the Internet to German residents. In August 2010, the European Court of Justice ruled that rules currently used to maintain German gambling monopolies violate German law. As the ECJ has found in previous rulings, it acknowledged that individual states can maintain a monopoly to fight crime and problem gambling, and it found that these rules were applied inconsistently in Germany. It found that the business of offering games of chance was expanding, and private participants in the German industry were able to offer games of chance as well. As a result of the inconsistent application of the German rules, the court found the state could not arbitrarily deny Carmen Media a license.