Court agrees German regulator can hold operators responsible for affiliates
The court ruled that the GGL has the power to penalise operators who advertise with affiliates that promote unlicensed gaming.
Germany.- The state of Saxony-Anhalt’s Higher Administrative Court has sided with the new German gambling regulator, the GGL, on its approach to affiliates that promote unlicensed gaming. The court has ruled that the GGL does have the power to prohibit gaming licensees from deliberately advertising on sites that feature such offerings.
The decision comes after the GGL issued a five-figure fine against an unnamed licensee for breaching the regulations. It says the operator had deliberately advertised on websites that also advertised illegal gambling, putting it in breach of interstate gambling legislation that came into force in July 2021.
A GGL by-law defines affiliates linking to illegal gaming sites as advertising an illegal activity. The court said the ban was necessary to avoid creating an impression that licensed gambling and illegal gambling are of equal importance.
Legal gaming operators can be held responsible for affiliates advertising unlicensed sites and must not willingly allow their services to appear alongside unlicensed offerings.
The court upheld the GGL’s rule requiring affiliate sites to inform users of Germany’s white list of licensed igaming operators. They must also advise about gambling’s risks of addiction, prevent participation by underage consumers and clarify options for therapy.
The court also confirmed the GGL’s ban on igaming sites advertising services as being “free of charge”. Meanwhile, adverts for bonuses and discounts advertising must state the total benefits and the campaign’s duration.
Earlier this month, the GGL concluded that certain daily fantasy sports (DFS) products constitute illegal gambling. The regulator reviewed DFS games under the Fourth Interstate Treaty on Gambling, which came into force on July 1.
It concluded at a hearing that some games could be classified as illegal gambling and that one well-known provider had left the market as a result.