by Antoni Majewski

German Trade Body Advocates for Reevaluation of Gambling Ad Ban Amid Market Challenges

The German Sports Betting Association (DSWV) is urging German authorities to reassess the current regulatory framework for online sports betting, citing a 5.4% decline in revenue to €7.72 billion in 2023. The DSWV attributes this downturn to a shift of players towards the illegal market, exacerbated by regulatory constraints that hinder legal operators’ competitiveness.

Concerns Over Market Channelization

The DSWV highlights the significant market share gained by black market operators in Germany, pointing to studies like the November Schnabl report, which reveal that German gamblers spend approximately half of their gambling time on illegal sites. This migration is primarily due to the stringent regulations that limit legal operators’ ability to effectively compete with unlicensed counterparts.

In response to these challenges, the DSWV is advocating for a “reorientation of the current regulatory policy” to bolster the legal market and diminish the unlicensed segment’s influence. A key aspect of this reorientation involves revisiting the advertising ban instituted by the 2021 Interstate Treaty on Gambling, which established the legal framework for the market.

The Case for Lifting the Advertising Ban

DSWV President Mathias Dahms emphasizes the critical role of advertising in the survival and visibility of businesses, including sports betting providers.

The absence of advertising opportunities, Dahms argues, inadvertently directs players towards the black market, where there are no safeguards or regulatory oversight. With the upcoming UEFA European Football Championship, the DSWV warns that the advertising ban could obscure the distinction between licensed and unlicensed operators, potentially leading to an increase in gambling on illegal sites.

Additional Recommendations

Besides advocating for the lifting of the advertising ban, the DSWV also suggests commissioning a new study on problem gambling, conducted by either the GGL (Joint Gambling Authority of the German Federal States) or the Federal Ministry of Health. This would complement regular surveys and provide deeper insights into the issue, contributing to more informed regulatory decisions.

The DSWV’s call for regulatory reevaluation highlights a pivotal moment for the German online sports betting market. By addressing the limitations of the current regime and considering adjustments such as lifting the advertising ban, German authorities have the opportunity to enhance market channelization, protect consumers, and ensure the sustainable growth of the legal gambling sector.

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