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Deutsche Telekom applies for sports betting license

The logo of Deutsche Telekom is seen at a store in Bonn, April 3, 2013. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
The logo of Deutsche Telekom is seen at a store in Bonn, April 3, 2013. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Deutsche Telekom has applied for a sports betting license which could pit the telecommunications company against online gambling companies competing for a limited number of concessions.

The matter is still at a very early stage, a spokesman for Deutsche Telekom told Reuters on Friday, adding that the application was being reviewed by the Interior Ministry of the German state of Hesse.

"It is not yet certain whether that will turn into an operating business," the spokesman said.

A ministry spokesman declined to comment on the matter.

Germany's states have agreed to grant 20 concessions to companies to offer sports bets nationwide. They have long maintained tight control of the online gambling and sports betting market, citing the risk of widespread gambling addiction in an unregulated scenario.

Betting companies like Bwin.party Digital Entertainment has been pressing for the rest of Germany to adopt the more liberal approach that had been pioneered by the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein.

Other British-listed gambling companies like William Hill and Betfair have scaled back their operations in Germany because of tax and regulatory hurdles.

(Reporting by Peter Maushagen; Writing by Maria Sheahan. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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