New German regulator promises “data-based evaluation” of State Treaty

| By Daniel O'Boyle
Board members for Germany’s new national regulator, die Glücksspielbehörde, have promised an evidence-based evaluation of player protection rules such as the country’s €1 slot spin cap when the body takes charge of German gambling.

The body – which will be Germany’s first federal-level gambling regulator from 1 January 2023 – was created through Germany’s Fourth State Treaty on Gambling, which came into effect in July 2021. This treaty allowed nationwide online casino gaming for the first time, but with a number of strict rules intended to protect players. These measures included a €1 per spin stake limit for online slots.

Glücksspielbehörde board member Ronald Benter said that the new regulator was already looking to strengthen player protection through three main areas.

First, Benter said the regulator was working on “data-based evaluation” of the player protection measures contained in the Fourth State Treaty. 

“Our goal is an internal evaluation system to measure the effect of the player protection measures of the treaty,” Benter said.

Fellow board member Benjamin Schwanke added that the Glücksspielbehörde will work with experts to create an early detection system for gambling harm.

“In addition, we will approach the relevant experts and institutions in the area of ​​provider-related early detection systems for gambling addiction, because we need further development of common, cross-provider scientific standards for early detection of gambling addiction,” he said.

Based on the results of this research, the regulator will then advise politicians on future adjustments to the law if necessary.

Second, he said the regulator was developing a new central complaint and whistleblowing system. Through this system, citizens can report both “irregularities with permitted gambling providers” and suspicions of illegal gambling, as well as advertising violations.

“The aim is to use an automated process to quickly initiate appropriate measures and to receive automated evaluation options about the frequency of complaints on specific topics or providers,” the Glücksspielbehörde said.

Finally, Benter said the regulator will provide bundled information on the subject of player protection and the prevention of gambling and betting addiction on its website. This, he noted, will include transparent standards that an operator should meet to receive a licence.

In addition, Schwanke added that the regulator was “in talks with industry associations” about continuing to make free gambling harm services available on national public health hotline Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung (BZgA).