German regulator: we will continue with consistent legal enforcement

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German gambling regulator, Gemeinsame Glücksspielbehörde der Länder, has vowed to remain consistent with its enforcement duties, as a reflection is offered six months after taking full responsibility of the cross-state digital gambling market.

A move which also comes two years after the relevant legislation was founded, the GGL is looking to maintain the momentum of what it bills as a “successful first half of 2023”.

In addition to addressing the impending introduction of an official seal of approval in a bid to make legal offerings “more easily recognisable,” the authority first touched upon ongoing enforcement efforts.

As of June 2023, 142 providers of virtual slot machine games and online poker, sports and horse betting were named on the country’s white list, with a further 45 applications sitting in the processing stage.

However, the GGL noted that it is “concerned with the new legal situation”, which currently sees 100 proceedings currently pending regarding a review of the provisions of the treaty and licences issued.

The regulator has previously said that it was being faced with “a large number of lawsuits from providers of games of chance on the internet”.

However, it was noted that its actions “have mostly been confirmed by the courts” after the Higher Administrative Court of the State of Saxony-Anhalt revised decisions of the Halle Administrative Court in five proceedings for temporary legal protection following a complaint by the GGL.

In making its decision, consideration was given to bans on infomercials, advertising for free online casino games and virtual slot machines, influencer marketing, advertising by streamers and affiliate advertising with partners who also advertise illegal offerings.

It was deemed that the regulations that have been put in place are necessary to ensure sufficient player protection, as well as to enforce the overarching ambitions of the goals of the State Treaty on Gaming 2021.

GGL board member Ronald Benter, who presented the report, said: “We can look back on a successful first half of 2023. We will continue along the path of consistent legal enforcement in the issuing of permits and supervision. The first court decisions confirm this. At the same time, we remain in dialogue with the industry regarding new challenges.”

In addition, information was also given regarding the protection of minors and players, with more than 2000 websites have been checked for illegal gambling and advertising.

This recently saw Tipster have its sports betting certification revoked after it was deemed that the requirements for legal operations were no longer being met.

Fellow board member Benjamin Schwanke noted: “We are successfully working together with all the key players in the fight against illegal gambling. 

“Here, too, we always keep an eye on new developments, such as camouflage as a competition. The judgement of the Munich Administrative Court in the spring shows that we are not powerless against it.”

In addition, July 1 will witness a pair of key developments within the GGL, with the Chair of the administrative board of the joint gaming authority of the federal states to change.

After Schleswig-Holstein, under Jörg Sibbel, State Secretary in the Ministry of the Interior, Municipal Affairs, Housing and Sport, led the way from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023, Udo Götze, State Secretary in the Thuringian Ministry of the Interior and Municipal Affairs, will take the reins from tomorrow.

Furthermore, an official GGL seal of approval and approval will also be made available from this date, as the regulator hopes to better distinguish legal entities from their illegal counterparts.

This, it was said, will contain a legal obligation to provide relevant licensing status on home pages, as additional consumer safety is sought.

The past year saw the volume of the Germany gambling market sit at €13.4bn, which the GGL noted is “roughly the same as in 2019”.

The providers for which the GGL is responsible took a €3.5bn share, with sports betting occupying €1.4bn, ahead of lotteries and slot and poker providers that did not have a licence but were earmarked to do so. 

“Overall, it can be assumed that the market will stabilise at this level for the time being,” the GGL concluded.