German online gambling ban begins January

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Online poker will be illegal in Germany starting January 1.

Tuesday marks not only the beginning of 2008, but also the start of an online gambling ban throughout Germany.

All Headline News reported this week that all 16 German state legislatures voted in mid-December to not allow any form of Web-based gambling or brokering of games on the Internet in the nation. The ban goes into effect Jan. 1.

The new law goes so far as to cover placing a bet from Germany with a gaming company outside the country.

It also targets the money transactions for online gambling. While the United States passed a law in 2006 making money transactions to online gambling sites illegal, Germany has given its states the power to order Internet service providers to block Web sites that promote illegal betting.

The states will also be able to order banks to stop money transfers for gambling-related transactions.

The new law comes a bit as a surprise after a German court ruled in November that an online gambling ban in the nation would be nearly an impossibility to enforce.

Bwin, which operates PokerRoom.com, had appealed a ruling by a lower court that was prohibiting it from providing online gambling services to German customers. The Administrative Court of Appeal in Hessen overturned the ruling.

Germany will probably face opposition from the European Union as well. It has been working to open up the online gambling market among its member states, including in Germany.

So far 13 of the 16 states in Germany have submitted the online gambling ban for ratification, according to what Eric Braum, spokesman for the Hesse state, told AHN.

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