Saxony-Anhalt stands by GGL advertising remit

Gluecksspiel (GGL), Germany’s Federal Gambling Authority, has received a positive ruling that it can enforce rules and impose penalties, with regards to non-compliance with German advertising laws. 

The decision was granted by the Higher Administrative Court of Saxony-Anhalt, tasked with reviewing “ancillary provisions” authorised prior to GGL taking regulatory control of the German Fourth Interstate Regime (GlüNeuRStv) in December 2022.

Ancillary provisions of the GlüNeuRStv had been previously granted to the ‘Gambling Collegium’ – the interim gambling authority formed by Germany’s 16 federal states whilst the GGL undertook its completion.

The Administrative Court of Saxony-Anhalt, the Bundesland in which the GGL is based, had received complaints specifically on the advertising rules for online slots and poker advertising.

Following its review, Saxony-Anhalt cites bans on advertising by social media streamers, influencers, infomercials, and social casino games marketing can be enforced by the GGL. Furthermore, “marketing by affiliates linking to unlicensed gambling websites is also banned”.

Despite its favourable ruling on GGL’s advertising remit, the court cited that a complete ban on ads in public spaces as “disproportionate”.  

“Most of the contested ancillary provisions are legal after a summary examination. In particular, the 3rd Senate approved the bans on infomercials, advertising for free online casino games and virtual slot machines, influencer marketing, advertising by streamers and affiliate advertising with partners who also promote illegal gambling are likely to be legally permissible.” – read Saxony-Anhalt’s ruling. 

“The regulations are necessary to ensure compliance with the State Treaty on Gambling goals, which include averting the risk of addiction and protecting minors.”

The decision sees German gambling continue to be fragmented on its advertising laws, as Saxony Anhalt’s ruling contrasts with a decision by the Administrative Court of Hamburg, which stated that the prohibition on influencer marketing has no legal ground for enforcement.

Aware of differences, GGL has sided with Saxony-Anhalt’s interpretation of advertising laws as the definitive judgement on the matter 

German operators maintain that the advertising laws of the GlüNeuRStv remain unworkable and in favour of the black market targeting national consumers.

Gambling trade bodies have urged for an immediate review of advertising rules granted to the GGL, or for a ‘Bundestag intervention in order for Germany to adopt federal advertising code for gambling.

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