Germany’s DSWV rejects calls to ban gambling advertising

The German operator association, the Deutscher Sportwettenverband (DSWV), has rejected calls from a state minister to ban gambling advertising in the country.

This comes after the State Treaty on Gambling (GlüNeuRStv) came into force in July, legalizing online casino gaming in the country.

In Germany, gambling operators can legally offer poker and slot games via online channels. Up until the implementation of the treaty, the only form of legal online gambling in Germany was sports betting.

While table games can also be offered, this ill is limited to Germany’s state lotteries as a monopoly operation. 

Calls to ban gambling ads in Germany

A ban on gambling advertising was initially proposed by Bremen’s Interior Minister Ulrich Mäurer, who wants to raise the issue during the Conference of federal states’ interior ministers in early December.

According to Mäurer, the ban would play a major role in helping to prevent gambling addiction and protecting minors, following the implementation of the State Treaty on Gambling.

On the TV show Sport Inside, Mäurer slammed football clubs for partnering with sports betting firms, saying that they were profiting from a sector that is “particularly harmful to society.”

Mäurer was also critical of the perceived impact on younger people, who according to him, were at greater risk of exposure to gambling brands.

DSWV rejects calls to ban gambling ads

In response to Mäurer’s claims, the DSWV said it was astonished by such a notion, considering that Bremen was one of the states to approve the State Treaty on Gambling back in March.

Under the treaty, gambling advertising for state-tested and secure offers is permitted in order to protect consumers from unlicensed illegal operators.

DSWV president Mathias Dahms has argued that the claims from Mäurer were counterproductive and argued that advertising plays a significant role in helping customers distinguish between legal and illegal operators.

Dahms said: “Since there are still many illegal operators active on the German market, advertising for licensed providers is vital. How else can citizens differentiate between safe and unsafe offers?

“In years of negotiations, the federal states have found a good balance between making legal gambling visible to the public, and addressing concerns around youth and player protection. We assume that the Conference of Interior Ministers will be bound by the resolutions of all 16 state parliaments on the State Treaty on Gambling.”

This comes after a study from the Handelsblatt Research Institute in June suggested that the treaty could lead to a 40% increase in players gambling at offshore sites, potentially canceling out player protection efforts.

Dahms added: “The state must not give the impression that it is measuring with double standards and that it wants to give preference to its own gambling products. After all, all holders of a German gaming license – both state-owned and private – have been extensively checked by the authorities for their reliability and performance. 

“This also applies in particular to their advertising strategies. Advertising for illegal providers is prohibited by law, enforcement agencies should focus on enforcing this.”