If Germany doesn’t want to keep falling back down the rabbit hole of unprotected consumer gambling, it’s not going about it the right way. That’s one of the assertions of a sports betting organization in the country, which is decrying new rules that would prohibit all sports betting advertising.
A senator for the German state of Bremen, Ulrich Mäurer, is taking a cue from other countries and calling for a complete ban on advertising by sports betting operators in the country. The Social Democratic Party member and Bremen’s Senator for the Interior of the State believes that this would be the best method to combat problem gambling. He voiced his opinion during a meeting of Interior Ministers, but is receiving criticism.
Banning Advertising Bad For Consumers
The German Sports Betting Association (DSWV) disagrees with the lawmaker’s position and thinks it would make matters worse. The trade body has “emphatically” rejected the idea, asserting that one of the best ways to protect consumers is to give them information. If there is no advertising, there’s no way for Germans to know how to separate the licensed and regulated operators from the unlicensed ones.
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?” said DSWV President Mathias Dahms.
In addition to the consumer protection advertising can offer, the DSWV accuses the senator of violating the law with his proposal. When Bremen and the other 15 German states approved the latest version of the country’s gambling treaty, known locally as GlüNeuRStv, they specifically addressed marketing and advertising. The activities were approved and included in that latest interstate agreement, the Fourth Interstate Gambling Treaty.
More Questions Than Answers
The GlüNeuRStv was meant to bring solidarity to the different gambling regulations found across Germany. This, ultimately, would make it easier for operators and users and be less confusing. However, the result has not yet been achieved.
Questions and controversy remain over who will be able to provide what services and what tax rates will apply. The GlüNeuRStv specified the cut operators would be expected to give up for sports betting and online casino operations. However, different trade groups, including the European Gaming and Betting Association, have spoken out against the new standards.
The new taxes, deposit limits, product restrictions and, now, advertising bans are creating a dilemma for operators that could otherwise take advantage of a lucrative online gaming market. Ultimately, this means that certain companies will give up before the market takes off, like Betsson has already done. This could lead to offshore and illegal sites returning to Germany.
Dahms added, “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 license – 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.”
Previously, in accordance with the provisions of the GlüNeuRStv, advertising was approved, but only between the hours of 9 PM and 6 AM. Ads are not allowed to target minors and cannot hint at being able to solve financial problems.
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