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Melanie Porter September 25, 2023 3 min read
Stakeholders in Germany Ask for Changes to Gambling Regulations
Gambling stakeholders in Germany have asked for urgent changes to be brought to the 2021 Interstate Gambling Treaty to boost protection against black market operators
Ratified by the German Federal States in March 2021 and adopted on July 1 of the same year, the 2021 Interstate Gambling Treaty (GlüNeuRStv) imposes a general ban on online gambling with the exception of licensed traditional lotteries, sports betting, horse racing, online poker, virtual slot machines, online poker, and online casino games, to a certain limit.
Domestic gambling stakeholders have once again expressed the urgent need to bring important changes to the treaty as a means of fulfilling its original purpose of keeping consumers safe.
The Current GlüNeuRStv Rules Do Not Deliver a “Controlled” Player Protection System
GlüNeuRStv is aimed at offering enhanced protection to players via a nationwide blocking system imposed on all gaming providers and all types of games with the help of early Artificial Intelligence detection. Game interventions including minimum playtime and maximum stake requirements are also part of the treaty.
According to the German Online Casino Association’s president (DOCV), Dr. Dirk Quermann, these interventions make licensed providers “less attractive compared to the unlicensed black market.” Since consumers would only accept a strong, legal online gambling offer, the DOCV is fully committed to making sure that online gambling is offered in a secure gaming space for both players and the state.
During the freshest Parliamentary Evening event held on September 21 in Dusseldorf and co-hosted by the DOCV and the German Sports Betting Association (DSWV), gambling stakeholders took the opportunity to once again verbalize the need for federal lawmakers to strengthen the legal offering in the regulated market. This is mandatory for increasing the protection of German consumers who are currently targeted by operators in the black market.
Stakeholders have used the voice of headline speaker Christof Rasche, who is also the vice president of the State Parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia, to explain that the current regulations in the GlüNeuRStv were not able to provide a “controlled system” to keep consumers protected.
Accordingly, Rasche reiterated the need for substantial changes to be implemented while expressing disappointment regarding the constant focus on implementing bans and restrictions, “instead of enhancing the legal market’s offer.” Rasche also urged for a “timely evaluation” of the GlüNeuRStv, arguing that, should the changes not be implemented, the very goals of the treaty would not be achieved.
Taxes Down, Black Market Rising
DOCV’s president expressed a similar point of view, further speaking about the negative impact observed across all online gambling verticals in the country and the “increasingly virulent” matter represented by the black market.
He emphasized the concerning drop in federal taxes from virtual slot machines, down 50% from €40 million ($42 million) to €20 million ($21 million) per month since 2021. The explanation comes from licensed operators’ being forced to comply with the €1 ($1.06) maximum stake limit and the restrictive in-game requirements imposed by the treaty.
President Quermann also emphasized that the Federal Gambling Authority is entitled to bring direct corrections to these limitations, as they would not require the involvement of the parliament in order to be processed.
DSWV’s president and licensed German bookmakers’ representative, Mathias Dahms, also spoke about the “polarizing debates” regarding the regulation of betting ads. He also showed optimism that stakeholders would be able to reach a consensus in relation to a federal advertising code for the gambling market.
In August, DSWV criticized media reports that had misinterpreted results from a 2021 Gambling Survey in relation to the exact number of problem gamblers in Germany.