According to the Higher Administrative Court of the State of Saxony-Anhalt, the Joint Gaming Authority of the Federal States (GGL), as the German regulator, has the right to ban licensed gambling operators who advertise on affiliate marketing sites that promote illegal offerings with intention.
The court upheld GGL’s by-law, which considers affiliates linking to illegal gambling websites as promoting illegal activity. However, the court noted that this by-law conflicts with the 2021 State Treaty on Gambling Regulation, which sets the framework for German gambling regulation.
The court further stated that the ban is necessary to prevent giving the impression that legal and illegal gambling activities are equally important. Additionally, licensed gaming operators must ensure that their services are not advertised alongside these unlicensed websites by monitoring their affiliates’ activities.
Affiliates of GGL
The court in Saxony-Anhalt affirmed the GGL’s obligation for affiliate sites to inform users about the list of permitted operators in Germany. Additionally, affiliates must disclose the risks of gambling addiction to potential players, prevent underage participation, and provide information on independent therapy options.
The court also upheld other GGL regulatory requirements, including a ban on iGaming sites advertising themselves as “free of charge”. Moreover, bonus and discount advertising must state the amount of benefits and the duration of the campaign explicitly, as per a technical ruling.
An operator was fined by GGL for violating affiliate rules
In March, the regulator imposed a five-figure fine on an unnamed operator for deliberately advertising its services on a website that also linked to illegal offerings, which initiated the case.
“We believe these advertising regulations are reasonable and justified,” stated GGL CEO Ronald Benter. “We continuously monitor legal operators’ offers and impose substantial fines for any violations. We will not hesitate to revoke licenses for repeated breaches of the provisions of the State Treaty on Gambling Regulation.”
Board member Benjamin Schwanke added that legal online gambling providers should not advertise on websites that promote illegal gambling since it could harm the operators’ reputation.