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Germany’s new federal gaming regulator commences work today

| By Richard Mulligan
Germany’s new gambling regulator has vowed to build on the work of its predecessor after assuming responsibility for combating the illegal gambling market.
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Beginning today (1 July), die Glücksspielbehörde (GGL) replaces Saxony-Anhalt State Administration Office as the body charged with taking action against unlicensed cross-state operations and activities across Germany.

The body was created through Germany’s Fourth State Treaty on Gambling, which came into effect in July 2021.

GGL will from today begin enforcing its strategy for combating illegal gambling via instruments such as IP and payment blocking, with more information on how these will be utilised to be revealed next week.

Ronald Benter, GGL board member, said: “We are very confident that we will successfully push back the illegal gambling market. We have created the necessary structures and processes and can build on the expertise of the previously responsible authorities.

“We are particularly grateful to the state of Saxony-Anhalt for their support and advice in setting up the authority. We have experienced constructive cooperation, which has helped us a lot in many situations.”

GGL will be staffed by some former Saxony-Anhalt employees as well as new recruits and says it will have grown to around 110 employees by the start of 2023 when it takes over full responsibility for the regulation of all gambling in Germany.

Among their ranks will be Nadja Wierzejewski, the experienced department head responsible for combating illegal gambling and related advertisements.

Board member Benjamin Schwanke added: “For the first time, enforcement instruments such as stopping payments against illegal gambling offers on the internet are being used from a single source. This enables us to take more effective action against providers.

“By bundling resources, undesirable developments and illegal gaming can be identified and counteracted more quickly in the future.”

The Fourth State Treaty on Gambling allows 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.

Earlier this week, the Saxony-Anhalt body revealed it has approved nine more licences for virtual slot machines and poker across Germany, in addition to the three permits already issued.

The Saxony-Anhalt body also revealed that since the treaty came into effect, it had referred 25 online operators to the public prosecutor’s office for breaking German law.

The department undertook the action as part of a wider campaign against illegal online gambling operators.

In total, 148 cases of illegal gambling were investigated, and 871 websites were checked. The department also reviewed 90 cases of illegal gambling advertising.

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