Recently, the Higher Administrative Court of the State of Saxony-Anhalt has issued a ruling under which the existing gambling regulatory body in the country, the Joint Gaming Authority of the Federal States (GGL), has the right to impose punishments on companies that intentionally promote their products through affiliates featuring unlawful products and services.
According to the court’s ruling, promoting gambling services on so-called affiliate platforms that have had connections to unlicensed gambling operators, services and products, is not legal, as such an association violates the provisions of the 2021 State Treaty on Gambling Regulation.
The Higher Administrative Court of the state argued that if these promotions are not banned, local residents would fall under the false impression that unlawful offshore gambling platforms offer the same quality as licensed products and are as safe.
As a result, the German Government addressed local gambling companies and urged them to remain vigilant and make sure that they are not collaborating with so-called affiliate marketing websites that popularize and promote unlawful gambling services to local customers. One of the board members of the country’s gambling watchdog, Benjamin Schwanke, shared that advertising such platforms undermines the credibility of the regulated white gambling market in Germany.
Gambling Companies Should Not Promote Their Products on Affiliate Marketing Sites, Court Says
The latest ruling of the Higher Administrative Court of the State of Saxony-Anhalt originates from an earlier decision where the GGL issued a monetary fine to a gambling operator over advertising its services on an affiliate website that also promoted unlicensed and unlawful gambling services. The company’s name was not unveiled at the time but the Joint Gaming Authority of the Federal States shared that it imposed a five-figure monetary penalty.
Apart from that, the Higher Administrative Court also noted that affiliate marketing agencies are required to inform their users which operators are legally operating in Germany and which are not. According to the Court, such online platforms are also required to clearly cite the list of white-listed operators in the country and warn their users of the potential harm that could occur as a result of irresponsible gambling.
Affiliate marketing agencies should also avoid advertising their products to minors and are required to inform customers about self-exclusion rights and problem gambling treatment therapies available to them.
At the time when it announced its latest ruling on the matter, the court also highlighted other regulatory requirements, including the fact that companies are not allowed to advertise online gambling as “free of charge”. They are also required to clearly list the benefits of a certain bonus offer and make it easy to understand.
According to Ronald Benter, the CEO of the Joint Gaming Authority of the Federal States, the latest regulations were fair and efficient. Mr. Benter pledged to make sure that the GGL would impose appropriate fines on all entities that breach the law. Repeated breaches would not be tolerated and could cost the operating license of a company that fails to make sure it is in line with existing rules and regulations.