GGL succeeds in court case to label ‘sweepstakes’ offer as illegal gambling

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Germany’s sole federal gambling authority, Gemeinsame Glücksspielbehörde der Länder, has succeeded in a court case to label a ‘sweepstakes’ offer on a private television station as an illegal gambling offer.

The Administrative Court of Munich ruled in favour of the GGL in labelling the ‘sweepstakes’ offer on the private TV station’s website as an illegal public ‘game of chance’ where participation was possible for a fee and the possibility of winning depended on chance.

With a less than 50 cents entry fee for the game on the station’s website, the court determined that the games should be classified as games of chance, for which no permission to conduct such games from the state had been granted.

Furthermore, the court noted that “the administrative concept of gambling in the State Treaty on Gambling does not provide for a materiality threshold for gaming stakes in order to take into account the objective of preventive security,” making the prohibition order lawful.

The private TV station has since removed the illegal gambling offer from its website and has changed the offering so that it is in line with the law.

Benjamin Schwanke, a GGL Board member, stated: “GGL’s approach is having an effect. With the judicial confirmation of the ban, a further step has been taken in the fight against illegal gambling.

“Paid games referred to as “sweepstakes” are to be classified as games of chance, provided that the chance of winning depends on chance.”

GGL has been the sole gambling regulator in Germany since December last year.

GGL Board colleague, Ronald Benter, added: “We assume that this ruling will serve as a model and that other providers will withdraw their illegal offers from the market at the request of GGL.”