29.02.2024

by Mateusz Mazur

GGL Advocates for Strengthened International Measures Against Illegal Gambling

During the recent Lotto-Talk im Turm event in Berlin, the German State Treaty on Gambling (Glücksspielstaatsvertrag – GGL) called for a reevaluation of the proposed amendments to the criminal law concerning illegal gambling.

Ronald Benter, board member of the GGL, highlighted the challenges and successes the authority has faced, emphasizing the potential loss of crucial tools for combating illegal gambling activities.

Challenges in Combating Illegal Gambling

Benter expressed concerns over the planned reform of § 284 ff. StGB, which currently allows the authority to file criminal complaints against unauthorized gambling events. The proposed legal amendment, which seeks to remove this section from the criminal code, could significantly undermine efforts to fight illegal gambling, according to the GGL.

Call for Extended Jurisdiction over Foreign Operators

The GGL urges the Federal Ministry of Justice to reconsider the reform and suggests extending the jurisdiction to include illegal gambling providers based abroad. “The possibility of prosecuting abroad will have a deterrent effect on illegal providers abroad,” Benter stated. This clarification in the existing legal norms could resolve the ongoing debate about the applicability of German criminal law to foreign gambling operators.

In a letter to Federal Justice Minister Dr. Marco Buschmann, the GGL requested that this clarification be incorporated into the upcoming reform of criminal law. Benter also warned of the potential implications for anti-money laundering efforts if §§ 284 ff. StGB were to be abolished, which could lead to a regulatory gap and potentially decriminalize a significant portion of money laundering activities.

The third Lotto-Talk im Turm, held on February 22, 2024, brought together representatives from politics, administration, and the gambling industry, hosted by the state lottery companies. Games & Business magazine reported on the event and will provide detailed coverage in its March issue.

Our Comment on the Article

The GGL’s call for a reevaluation of the criminal law reform related to illegal gambling underscores the complexity of regulating the gambling industry, especially with the rise of online platforms. Extending jurisdiction to target foreign-based illegal operators could be a significant step in creating a more secure gambling environment.

However, it also raises questions about international law and enforcement. As the industry continues to evolve, the balance between effective regulation and overreach, as well as the impact on related areas such as money laundering, will be crucial considerations for policymakers and industry stakeholders alike.

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