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German state shuts down all bookmakers amongst money laundering concerns

Germany’s smallest state, The Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, has shut down all of its bookmakers following a statewide investigation into money laundering in the industry.
Four operators active in Bremen, Tipico, HappyBet, Tipwin, and XTiP, have shut down 32 betting shops between them, putting a stop to betting in the state.

The suspicion comes after a total of 24 of the operators’ franchises were “tolerated” but were awaiting full approval but were ultimately unable to provide proof of where their funds originated from in violation of anti-money laundering regulations. As a result, the premises were shut down and it instantly became illegal to bet from any of the affected bookmakers.

In a press conference, Bremen Landtag’s Interior Senator Ulrich Mäurer said: “Basically, it’s about checking the reliability of these operators. We also want to ensure that no money from shady deals such as drug or human trafficking is laundered here and can flow into the legal money cycle in this way.”

“We are breaking new legal ground with our initiative. It’s always a certain risk. But it’s worth it to us.”

Deutscher Sportwettenverband (DSWV), a sports betting trade association in Germany, disputes the move, saying that the closers are “politically motivated arbitrary action”.

The statement posted on its website says, “Extensive, meaningful documents were presented to the Bremen interior authorities about the operators of the betting shops and their financial resources. Money laundering experts have confirmed the evidence.”

“As is usual, the authorities did not ask any questions about the documents submitted.”