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German court rules GGL’s tightened ad restrictions permissible

| By Zak Thomas-Akoo
The Higher Administrative Court of the State of Saxony-Anhalt has ruled that the German gaming regulator, Glücksspielbehörde der Länder (GGL), does indeed have the power to impose advertising restrictions.
GGL Red Rhino

When the GGL granted gambling operators the right to offer online games of chance it did so through permits that included provisions. These provisions imposed restrictions on the activities of the operators, notably in advertising.

The gaming businesses requested that the administrative court of Halle, where the GGL is based, suspend the provisions on the grounds that “the authority had not sufficiently justified the order for immediate enforcement”.

The Saxony-Anhalt court has reversed this ruling in response to a petition from the GGL, finding that “most of the contested ancillary provisions are legal after a summary examination”.

In particular, the court approved the bans on infomercials, affiliate advertising through streamers and through partners that promote unlicensed sites.

“The regulations are necessary to ensure compliance with the goals of the State Treaty on Gambling, which include averting the risk of addiction and protecting minors,” said the court.

“As in the area of ​​legal gambling, the GGL has also had success in combating illegal gambling,” added the regulator.

“According to the State Treaty on Gambling 2021, public gambling in Germany is prohibited without a licence and can be prohibited.

“The reservation of permission is compatible with the provisions of European law because it serves the legitimate goals of youth and player protection and the fight against crime under union law.”

GGL wins affiliate case

In May, the GGL also proved victorious in a case concerning affiliate advertising. On that occasion, the court ruled that the GGL could penalise a gambling operator which “deliberately” advertised its services on a site which also linked to unlicensed offerings.

“We consider these advertising regulations to be very good and justified,” said GGL chief executive Ronald Benter. “The GGL consistently monitors offerings from legal operators. In the event of violations, we levy heavy fines.

“The withdrawal of the licence in the event of repeated violations of the provisions of the State Treaty on Gambling Regulation is a measure that we do not shy away from.”

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