From the practice of the Complaints Office (4): The new German State Treaty on Gambling – an overview

The online segment of the gambling market in Germany has in particular hovered in the “grey area” for many years. Virtual slot machine games, online casino games and online poker are now explicitly included in the definition of gambling (Section 3, sentence 1a).

From July 2021 onwards, online casinos in Germany can now apply for a licence for virtual slot machines and online poker, in accordance with Section 4 ff. GlüStV.

In addition to the requirement of a licence, however, further requirements must be fulfilled that serve to protect players. These include, for instance, the mandatory participation in a player blocking system, a deposit limit for sports betting, as well as a time limitation for gaming advertising, restricted to evening and night times.

Online sports betting has been legal up to now, while all other types of online gambling remain prohibited, Section 4 ff. GlüStV.

What are the implications for advertising in this area?

Senders who advertise gambling services should take urgent action to ensure that their customers conduct their business on the basis of these new legal rules. In particular, no advertisements should be sent for unlicensed gambling or, indeed, for fully illegal gambling (e.g. so-called “secondary lotteries”). Whether a provider who is subject to licensed gambling has received such a licence can be looked up in a corresponding list of the Joint Gambling Authority of the Federal States, based in Saxony-Anhalt.

Advertising for illegal or unlicensed gambling services violates Point 4.1 of the CSA criteria, as this constitutes illegal email content. It should also be borne in mind that there are different regulations in other European countries, which must also be taken into account when mailings are sent to other countries.

CSA certified senders are therefore strongly advised to make their customers aware of this issue and the new legal situation.

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