Jorg Sibbel, the current chair of the German gambling regulator Gemeinsamen Glücksspielbehörde der Länder (GGL), will be leaving his position on July 1st.
His departure will mark the end of his tenure, which began on July 1, 2022, and lasted until June 30, 2023. Sibbel will be succeeded by Udo Götze, who currently serves as the state secretary in the Thuringian Ministry of the Interior and Municipal Affairs. This change in leadership aligns with the Fourth State Treaty on Gambling, which stipulates that the chair of the GGL's board of directors rotates annually among the German states in alphabetical order.
Sibbel acknowledged the challenges that the incoming chair, Udo Götze, will face in his new role. He expressed confidence in Götze's ability to handle the tasks assigned to the position, such as issuing permits and combating illegal gambling on the internet. Sibbel also emphasized the trust that the GGL has garnered from all sponsoring states.
"The colleagues in the GGL have the fullest trust of all sponsoring states," said Sibbel.
The GGL, which took over all tasks as Germany's gambling regulator six months ago, has been actively working towards fulfilling its responsibilities. The organization assumed full control of regulating the gambling market on January 1, 2023, thereby consolidating the licensing and regulatory responsibilities that were previously divided among various state-level departments.
Udo Götze, the incoming chairman, expressed his commitment to the GGL's mission and acknowledged the unanimous support of all 16 German states in regulating the transnational gambling market. Götze recognized the challenging nature of the task and assured the GGL of Thuringia's support during his tenure.
"Regulating the transnational gambling market in Germany is a challenging task. The GGL can also be sure of the support of the sponsoring states under the chairmanship of the state of Thuringia," said Götze.
The GGL recently released its annual report, which sheds light on the state of the illegal gambling market in Germany. According to the report, there are currently 207 unlicensed operators offering gambling services through 843 German-language websites. Among these operators, 136 offer multiple forms of gambling, while 71 specialize in a single activity. The majority of non-EU operators, totaling 132, are based in Curaçao, while 23 operators could not be traced back to a specific country.
The GGL estimates that the illicit websites contribute to a market volume ranging from €300m to €500m, primarily generated from illegal secondary lotteries, online casino games, virtual slot machines, and sports betting. This represents approximately 2% to 4% of the licensed gambling market in Germany. The GGL plans to publish a more detailed analysis of the illegal market in the autumn.
In addition to combating the illegal market, the GGL has been involved in several court cases that have tested the boundaries of its regulatory authority. While some rulings have been unfavorable, such as the declaration of the ISP blocking order against Malta-based lottery betting business Lottoland as unlawful, the GGL has also achieved successes. For example, a Munich case classified a televised sweepstakes offering as gambling, reinforcing the GGL's authority in that area. The regulator has also demonstrated its power to penalize operators for affiliate violations.
"We are successfully working together with all the key players in the fight against illegal gambling. Here, too, we always keep an eye on new developments, such as camouflage as a competition. The judgment of the Munich Administrative Court in the spring shows that we are not powerless against it," said Benjamin Schwanke, a board member of the GGL.
Ronald Benter, another board member, expressed satisfaction with the GGL's achievements in the first half of 2023 and emphasized their commitment to consistent legal enforcement.
"We can look back on a successful first half of 2023. We will continue along the path of consistent legal enforcement in the issuing of permits and supervision. The first court decisions confirm this. At the same time, we remain in dialogue with the industry regarding new challenges," stated Benter.
As the GGL moves forward under new leadership, it remains dedicated to fulfilling its regulatory responsibilities, combating illegal gambling, and fostering dialogue with the industry to address emerging challenges in the German gambling market.
By fLEXI tEAM