The newly created German regulator Gemeinsamen Glücksspielbehörde der Länder (GGL) has conditionally approved close to 50 more gambling licences for online slot games and poker.
However, only 25 providers have been so far added to the official white list of operators licensed in Germany, due to outstanding security deposits.
After 18 months of preparation and development work, the GGL from 1 January 2023 took over all gambling regulatory tasks previously performed by individual federal states within Germany.
This includes issuing new gaming licences as well as investigating and combating illegal cases of gambling in the country, which had already been a responsibility.
The regulator has also approved almost 600 of the 3,500 individual game permit applications for both online slot games and poker. Yet, Ronald Benter, CEO of GGL, has said that some of the games submitted for review are not up to standard.
“We have to conclude that not all of the gaming permits submitted are allowable. Often it fails due to the simplest of requirements, for example, if there are only English instructions for the game.
“In Germany we expect better coordination between the providers and studios.”
“We will revoke permits”
The GGL in setting out its goals for 2023 said it would continue to focus on combating illegal gambling. In terms of punishments the authority can exercise, revoking licences is an option that the GGL is not afraid to use.
“We will revoke permits if we find serious violations,” added Benter. “Our goal is a level playing field for all providers. We want to ensure that the business model of offering illegal or non-compliant gambling on the Internet is not worthwhile in the long term.”
Collaboration with enforcement departments is also something the regulator has plans for, according to GGL board member Benjamin Schwanke.
“We will also proceed consistently when it comes to enforcement. Every provider who is not on the whitelist will be picked up, no matter how big it is,” said Schwanke.
The GGL plans to set up a special public prosecutor’s office in Halle to handle enforcement against illegal gambling providers.
Since taking over responsibility for combating illegal gambling, almost 150 cases of illegal gambling and almost as many cases of advertising illegal gambling have been filed with the GGL.
Around 1150 illegal gambling websites were checked by the regulator.
Other goals for the gaming authority in 2023 include creating greater transparency for players on which player protection measures have been observed by providers, as well as addiction prevention.
Long road to a new regulatory regime in Germany
In July 2021, the country launched the State Treaty on Gambling (GlüNeuRStv), which established the GGL and enabled operators to apply for nationwide online slot licences. Before this only sports betting was allowed outside of Schleswig-Holstein.
The treaty was accompanied by a law that established a tax on online slots and poker stakes at 5.3% and set a €1 per spin stake limit for online slots.
The tax has proved highly controversial, especially with operator association, der Deutsche Sportwettenverband (DSWV).
Since July 2021, the GGL has been taking on more responsibility from the federal states previously holding gaming powers.
In December 2022, members of the Gambling College, the decision-making body for the German states handed over files to the GGL. This symbolic move delegated the task of gaming regulation to the new authority.
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