Germany’s DSWV ’emphatically rejects’ calls for sports betting advertising ban

The German Sports Betting Association (DSWV) has taken a clear stance against alleged calls from a regional Senator to ban sports betting advertising.

Issuing a statement today, the trade body responded to German media reports that Ulrich Mäurer, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) Senator for the Interior of the State of Bremen, had called for the imposition of a sports betting advertising ban at the Conference of Interior Ministers.

The trade body stated that it ‘emphatically rejects’ the Minister’s reported statement, maintaining that the calls were in violation of State of Brenen’s formal approval – along with the 15 other German Federal States that federally sanctioned GlüNeuRStv –  the Fourth Interstate Gambling Treaty.

Approved on 1 July by the 16 German Lander, the main controversy surrounding the treaty revolved around taxation, with the continuation of online sports betting, casino and poker approved.

Marketing, meanwhile, was also largely approved by federal states, with the DSWV remarking that the treaty ‘expressly advocates’ betting advertising for ‘state-tested and secure’ in order to safeguard German bettors against black market operators.

The DSWV pointed out that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) had ruled in favour of sports betting advertising in the Zeturf case (C-212/08), specifically with relation to directing consumers towards the legal market and away from illicit black market offerings. 

The trade body reiterated its stance that common sense advertising laws need to be applied to the GlüNeuRStv regime, as national consumers targeted by black market actors will not be able to find legal offerings without encouragement from advertising.

Describing the Brenen Senator’s proposal as ‘counterproductive’, DSWV President Mathias Dahms said: “Since there are still many illegal providers active on the German market, the possibility of advertising for permitted providers is of central importance. How else should citizens differentiate between safe and unsafe offers? 

“In years of negotiations, the federal states have found a good balance between the public visibility of legal gambling offers and the concerns of youth and player protection. We assume that the Conference of Interior Ministers feels bound by the resolutions of all 16 state parliaments on the State Treaty on Gambling. “

The DSWV had initially tentatively supported Germany’s new regulatory framework upon its approval earlier this year – along with casino industry representative DOCV – expressing particular concerns about the aforementioned tax caveats of the treaty.

Accusing German Bundesrat MPs of approving a ‘misguided tax assessment’, the industry representative body stated that the regulatory regime would only add to the challenges faced by the German gambling industry, such as product restrictions, deposit limitations and stringent technical arrangements.

The DSWV’s latest statement represents a continuation of clashes with political overseers, building on its taxation criticisms, on which it has been joined by the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA).

Fearing ‘unequal treatment’ with regards to advertising, Dahms continued: “The state must not give the impression that it is measuring with double standards and that it wants to give preference to its own gambling offers. After all, all holders of a German gaming licence – both state and private – have been extensively checked by the authorities for their reliability and performance. 

“This also applies in particular to their advertising concepts. Advertising for illegal providers is prohibited by law, enforcement agencies should focus on enforcing this. ”

A total of 35 international and domestic operators were granted sports betting licences under the GlüNeuRStv treaty last month by the authorities of Saxony-Anhalt – the federal state chosen to host the newly created Glücksspielbehörde regulatory body – but no approvals have yet been issued for online casino, slots and poker.

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