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Germany Outlaws Daily Fantasy Sports as Illegal Form of Gambling

The German Government is still making efforts to refine its definition of gambling, as part of which it has now targeted Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) and the way this form of gambling is approached there. The gambling regulatory body of the country – the Joint Gaming Authority of the Federal States (GGL) – has unveiled that some Daily Fantasy Sports players were found to be breaking the law.

The GGL, which is the German acronym for the Joint Gaming Authority of the Federal States, only recently took over as the watchdog for the entire gambling market of the country. Now, it has carried out a probe into certain forms of DFS contests and issued a press release saying that it found that they constituted illegal gambling. The regulatory body did not provide any details on what helped it reach these conclusions but stated that the legally accepted options of gambling and DFS services could be now found in the White List published on its official website.

The Chief Executive Officer of the body, Ronald Benter, confirmed that the move to announce Daily Fantasy Sports as illegal was aimed at protecting local customers from being targeted by illegal gambling services and the development of problem gambling behavior.

As a result of the recent decision of the German Government to outlaw DFS services, one of the DFS providers targeting local customers ceased its operations there and exited the country.

Daily Fantasy Sports Categorized as Illegal Form of Gambling

Daily Fantasy Sports contests allow players to form their own virtual teams of players from actually existing real sports teams, basing their decision on an analysis of the personal abilities of each player to create a strong and winning team. The objective is to match the results of the DFS contest with the real games, with the person who makes the most accurate choices for their team winning the competition.

In the process of determining whether daily fantasy sports in the country should be outlawed, Germany’s gambling regulatory body found that it is possible to set up a team for individual games or competitions and to take part for a fee. Because of this, DFS contents should be categorized as a game of chance rather than a game of skill and should be required to hold special operating permits issued by the competent authorities.

As part of this, the GGL explained that public games of chance may only be organized and managed with the permission of the authority responsible for monitoring and regulation of the market in line with the Fourth State Treaty on Gaming that did not take daily fantasy sports into account, although these contents have existed for more than seventy years. The gambling regulator categorizes something as a game of chance when taking into consideration two major criteria – whether the contest requires a participation fee and offers an opportunity to win some prizes, and whether winning a prize depends on the player’s chance in any aspect.

The recent decision of the Government to categorize DFS as an illegal form of gambling has triggered a long-time debate over the thin line that separates gambling (that could be effectively defined as a game of chance because players are unable to control the outcome of the game) from betting (which requires research, analysis, and a certain level of personal skill that means that players have certain control over the outcome). That is exactly the reason why sports betting has been approved as legal in the territory of the country, although some courts believe that it features all the characteristics of gambling.

 Author: Hannah Wallace

Hannah Wallace has been part of our team since the website was launched. She has a master’s degree in IT.