DSWV President, Mathias Dahms,

DSWV: Interstate deficiencies will be exposed in critical summer for German sports 

Deutscher Sportwettenverband (DSWV), Germany’s Sports Betting Trade Association, has called on Bundesländer (state authorities) to back its call for a “realignment of regulations in 2024”.

The trade body has urged Germany’s 16 federal states to face the deficiencies of the Fourth Interstate Gambling Treaty (GlüNeuRStv), the framework that has re-regulated the country’s online gambling marketplace since July 2021.

2023 was marked as a year of continued declines for the GlüNeuRStv regime, as DSWV cited that “legal sports betting providers in Germany recorded stakes of €7.72bn, a decrease of 5.4% compared to the previous year.”

Alongside the online casino trade body, Deutscher Online Casinoverband (DOCV), DSWV has tracked the developments of the GlüNeuRStv market since its inception.

Last year, the trade bodies published the findings of the co-sponsored Schnabl Report by researchers from the University of Leipzig. Key findings warned Bundesländer that in 2023 the GlüNeuRStv market had reached a level of 50% customer engagement with black market (unlicensed) operators.

As such, German online gambling faces the highest level of black market exposure as any other Western European market. The black market’s encroachment continues despite Gluecksspiel (GGL), the Federal Gambling Authority’s stricter enforcement and tightening of consumer protections.

SBC News DSWV: Interstate deficiencies will be exposed in critical summer for German sports 

DSWV noted: “This alarming development requires urgent action on the part of the Joint Gambling Authority of the federal states (GGL). The DSWV is therefore calling for a reorientation of the current regulatory policy to strengthen the legal market and curb the black market.”

2023 proceedings saw the GGL dismiss the Schnabl Report, choosing to stand by the findings of the ATLAS Report commissioned by Drogenbeauftragter, the Federal Drug Commissioner of the Bundestag. The GGL stands by its assessment of the ‘market volume of illegal gambling,’ estimated to be at circa €300m-€500m, in the range of 2%-4% of the current legal market’s size.

Due to conflicts, German stakeholders are awaiting the publication of the “Gambling Advertising Study” awarded by the GGL to Berlin public research agency eye square GmbH.

The recommendations of the study will be relayed to Bundesländer authorities, to settle on definitive terms and legislation for Germany’s forthcoming federal advertising code on gambling, an outstanding mandate of the GlüNeuRStv regime that is yet to be finalised.

In 2024, DSWV accomplished a major objective as all GlüNeuRStv-licensed sportsbook operators (foreign and domestic) joined its trade body, supporting its call for online reforms.

DSWV has warned the GGL and Bundestag not to follow other European governments’ lead by implementing a blanket ban on gambling advertising. 2024 is viewed as a critical test of the GlüNeuRStv market, as Germany will host the UEFA Euro 2024 Championships from 14 June to 14 July – placing the market’s integrity under the spotlight. 

As expressed by DSWV President Mattias Dahms: “Advertising helps to make the brands of legal providers stand out from the illegal offers on the black market. Only companies permitted by the GGL protect players. In the debate on sports betting advertising, the DSWV is therefore expressly opposed to a ban on advertising.”

“No company can survive if it is not allowed to advertise, and this must remain the case for sports betting providers. Otherwise, players are left with the black market, where there are no protective measures and controls.”

DSWV stated that its membership represents a ‘full-house of German sportsbooks’ “committed to their social responsibility and, together with other associations, finance the helpline of the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA).”

The GGL has noted licensee concerns but stated that it has no intentions to recommend a review of GlüNeuRStv market rules, in which German authorities have been urged to focus on improving player protections and finalising a gambling advertising code.

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