Due to suspicions that they are being used as fronts for money laundering, the German city of Bremen will close all of its betting establishments.
The choice was made in response to a senator from the interior who claimed their owners had failed to persuade him they were not fronts for the laundering of illegal funds.
According to The Guardian, Bremen has now given rejection notices to 32 betting shops who had applied for betting licenses under a new gambling law.
As a result of the ruling, any wagers made on their property would be considered unlawful with immediate effect.
Betting shops now have until August 5th to file a legal challenge to the ruling or to provide the Senate with documentation of their start-up capital funding, such as through a bank or other reputable lender.
Ulrich Mäurer, the interior affairs committee chair for Bremen, told the Weser-Kurier newspaper that the choice was made to check "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," he continued.
In recent months, local authorities have contacted four sizable betting companies doing business in the northern German city and asked for written proof of their startup capital. None of those stores had turned in paperwork that complied with the authorities' requirements, despite their requests.
The decision has been condemned by the German Sports Betting Association, whose president, Mathias Dahms, called it "arbitrary, legally questionable and completely out of proportion, motivated purely by political goals."
By fLEXI tEAM