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A new German regulator is expected to grant nearly 50 more licences

The newly formed German regulator, the Gemeinsamen Glücksspielbehörde der Länder (GGL), has conditionally authorised over 50 additional gambling licences for online slot games and poker.

However, due to overdue security deposits, only 25 providers have been included to the official white list of operators licenced in Germany.

After 18 months of planning and development, the GGL takes over all gambling regulatory functions previously conducted by different federal states within Germany on January 1, 2023.

This covers the issuance of new gaming licences as well as the investigation and prosecution of illicit gambling cases in the country, which was formerly a responsibility.

In addition, the regulator has granted nearly 600 of the 3,500 individual gaming permit applications for both online slot machines and poker. However, Ronald Benter, CEO of GGL, has stated that some of the games submitted for assessment are subpar.

“We have to conclude that not all of the gaming permits submitted are allowable. Often it fails due to the simplest of requirements, for example, if there are only English instructions for the game.

“In Germany we expect better coordination between the providers and studios.”

“We will revoke permits”

In announcing its goals for 2023, the GGL stated that it would continue to focus on eliminating unlawful gaming. In terms of punishments that the authority can impose, the GGL is not hesitant to revoke licences.

“We will revoke permits if we find serious violations,” added Benter. “Our goal is a level playing field for all providers. We want to ensure that the business model of offering illegal or non-compliant gambling on the Internet is not worthwhile in the long term.”

According to GGL board member Benjamin Schwanke, the regulator also intends to collaborate with enforcement authorities.

"When it comes to enforcement, we will likewise be consistent. "Every provider that is not on the whitelist will be picked up, regardless of size," warned Schwanke.

The GGL intends to open a special public prosecutor's office in Halle to deal with illegal gaming providers.

Since taking over responsibility for countering illegal gaming, the GGL has received over 150 cases of unlawful gambling and nearly as many cases of advertising illicit gambling.

The regulator investigated over 1150 unlawful gambling websites.

Other targets for the gaming authority in 2023 include increasing openness for players about which player safety measures providers have observed, as well as addiction prevention.

In Germany, the road to a new regulatory regime is long.

The country passed the State Treaty on Gambling (GlüNeuRStv) in July 2021, establishing the GGL and allowing operators to apply for countrywide online slot licences. Outside of Schleswig-Holstein, only sports betting was permitted.

The treaty was accompanied by legislation that imposed a 5.3% tax on online slot and poker bets as well as a €1 per spin stake limit on online slots.

The charge has sparked heated debate, particularly among the operator association, dem Deutsche Sportwettenverband (DSWV).

Since July 20, 2021, the GGL has assumed more responsibility from the federal states that previously held gaming powers.

Members of the Gambling College, the German states' decision-making body, handed over papers to the GGL in December 2022. This symbolic action entrusted gambling regulation to the new authority.


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