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Court decides GGL can fine operators for affiliate infringement

The Saxony-Anhalt Higher Administrative Court confirmed that the German regulator, the Joint Gaming Authority of the Federal States (GGL), has the authority to prohibit licenced gaming companies from "deliberately" promoting on affiliate marketing networks that provide illicit services.

Court decides GGL can fine operators for affiliate infringement

The court upheld a GGL by-law that stated affiliates who connect to illicit games of chance websites are considered to be advertising the illegal activity. The court stated unequivocally that this is "incompatible" with the 2021 State Treaty on Gambling Regulation, which established Germany's current regulatory structure.

The court went on to say that the restriction is vital to avoid giving the appearance that "permitted gambling is equally important to illegal gambling." Legal gambling operators are also expected to hold affiliates accountable for not advertising these unauthorised sites by refusing to allow their services to sit beside them on the site.

The Saxony-Anhalt court also upheld the GGL requirement that affiliate sites inform users about the German "white list" of authorised operators. Affiliates must also advise potential players about the addiction risks of advertising gambling, prohibit underage customers from participating, and make plain the choices for independent counselling.

Other GGL regulatory requirements were also confirmed, such as a prohibition on igaming sites presenting themselves as "free of charge," as well as a more technical finding stating that bonus and discount advertising must explicitly disclose the amount of benefits and the duration of the campaign.

GGL imposes sanctions on the operator for affiliate infractions.

The case originally concerned the regulator's March decision to levy a five-figure fine on an unnamed operator for purposefully advertising its services on a site that also connected to illicit offerings.

“We consider these advertising regulations to be very good and justified,” said GGL chief executive Ronald Benter. “The GGL consistently monitors offers from legal operators. In the event of violations, we levy heavy fines.

“The withdrawal of the licence in the event of repeated violations of the provisions of the State Treaty on Gambling Regulation is a measure that we do not shy away from.”

Board member Benjamin Schwanke added: “The legal online gambling providers cannot have any interest in advertising on sites that also advertise illegal gambling. This damages the reputation of the operators”.



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