January 30, 2023 3 min read


Germany Targets Gambling, Alcohol and Smoking Ads

Burkhard Blienert urged the government to take action against alcohol, tobacco, and gambling, focusing on protecting the country’s youth

The Federal Drug Commissioner noted that German laws regarding addictive substances and sports betting were among the most relaxed in Europe, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths each year. Blienert proposed an initial advertising ban and additional targeted measures against offending categories. The advertising industry opposed his claims, denying any need for legislative intervention.

Germany Has Relatively Lax Restrictions

According to Blienert, few other European countries treated alcohol and tobacco as liberally as Germany. The Commissioner added that addictive substances accounted for 150,000 deaths each year, and their impact on the country’s youth would continue to grow. Alcohol consumption in Germany is currently legal at age 14 with parental supervision.

Blienert called for comprehensive countermeasures to the alcohol and tobacco industries, starting with sensible youth protection and advertising restrictions. His immediate goal would be to remove ads online and in traditional media, at least during prime time, if not entirely. The Drug Commissioner also proposed that profits from alcohol and drug taxation should contribute to addiction prevention and counseling programs.

We need a real paradigm shift, a change of thinking when it comes to drugs and addiction policy.

Burkhard Blienert, Federal Drug Commissioner

Advertising industry representatives have already voiced their objections, disregarding any need for further safeguards. They argued that alcohol advertising already had adequate restrictions and that addressing young people was strictly prohibited. According to them, none of the categories required any new legislative action, as existing laws were already robust and included self-regulation requirements.

Gambling Addiction Remains a Contentious Topic

Sports betting also faced harsh criticism from Blienert, who insisted on improved youth and consumer protections. The Commissioner noted that one in eight adults in Germany. He acknowledged that federal governments had the last word in that regard, recommending a ban on all sports betting advertisements before 9 p.m., matching restrictions regarding online casinos.

This occasion is not the first time Blienert has tried to raise awareness of gambling addiction. In September 2022, he joined Germany’s Federal Center for Health Education, calling for a watershed ban on gambling advertising. He expressed concern regarding the rapid explosion in sports betting and gaming ads, particularly online, where the risk of addiction is significantly higher.

Any significant changes regarding gambling restrictions would likely require the input of Germany‘s new federal gambling regulator. The Gemeinsamen Glücksspielbehörde der Länder (GGL) currently focuses on issuing licenses to trusted operators and rooting out illegal gambling operations. Once the initial rush to market is complete, the authority should be able to fully commit to enforcing existing regulations, undoubtedly playing a significant role in future legislative changes.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

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