German regulators discuss regulatory challenges at Gaming in Germany Breakfast @ICE 2023
As part of the activities surrounding ICE London 2023, Ms. Nadja Wierzejewski, Head of Enforcement at the German regulator GGL, as well as Mr. Volker Tittel, Head of Licensing, made a very welcome appearance at the Gaming in Germany Breakfast.
With approximately 200 people in attendance, the Gaming in Germany Breakfast offered an opportunity to learn more about the latest regulatory developments in Germany's online gambling market.
Ms. Wierzejewski mainly addressed the GGL's enforcement policy and some of the regulator's early successes in this area.
Ms. Nadja Wierzejewski, Head of Enforcement, GGL
Her colleague, Mr. Tittel, focused on the hot-button issue of game approval. One of the tasks of the GGL is to ensure that all individual games offered by licensed operators meet the strict requirements specified by Germany's gambling regulations. This, for instance, includes the labeling and language of each individual game.
At present, the GGL has approximately 3,000 games to review, Tittel revealed. "Paragraph 22a of the new State Gambling Treaty leaves no room for interpretation," Tittel further explained. “It is our duty to examine every single game. By rule, this process cannot be automated. There is no whitelist for approved games. Each game that an operator wants to offer to its customers must be individually checked, regardless of whether another operator has already submitted it for approval at an earlier point in time.”
Mr. Volker Tittel, Head of Licensing, GGL
Until this backlog is cleared, Germany-licensed operators may only offer a relatively small number of approved games, which decreases the attractiveness of the regulated market.
The threat of the illegal market was also an important topic at a session organized by German and Austrian trade associations DOCV, DSWV, and OVWG. Currently, the legal market is declining while the illegal market is growing, Mathias Dahms, President of the DSWV observed. “Solutions are urgently needed.”
However, the “open and constructive” dialog between the regulator and industry offers hope for the future.
Additional photos of the Gaming in Germany Breakfast are available here.
ICE London sets attendance record as 40,000 attend 2023 event
ICE London 2023 set a new record after welcoming over 40,000 unique attendees across three days at the ExCeL exhibition and convention center, surpassing the 36,000 visitors that attended in 2020.
However, Clarion Gaming, the organizers of the ICE London trade show, recently released a shortlist of future ICE locations after exhibitors alleged cost difficulties in attending an event held in the UK post Brexit.
Four cities have been shortlisted as potential hosts for future iterations of ICE from 2025 onwards. These are Barcelona, Madrid, Paris and London. The latter's bid would need to be particularly tempting given the calls for its relocation.
The following event(s) may be of interest to the Gaming in Germany community.
Don't miss the Partner Marketing Summit: “iGaming industry in transition,” a hybrid event specifically aimed at the German iGaming market. This event, featuring several expert speakers, takes place March 9, 2023.
The University of Hohenheim's annual Glücksspielsymposium is scheduled to take place March 14-15, 2023.
German courts reject IP blocking
In recent months, two German courts, the Oberverwaltungsgericht Rheinland-Pfalz and the Verwaltungsgericht Düsseldorf, have issued preliminary rulings finding that internet service providers cannot be forced to block access to the websites of unlicensed gambling operators.
According to Germany's Telemedia Act, only content providers may be subject to blocking orders, both courts found.
Although these rulings are a major setback to the GGL, the German regulator vowed to continue its efforts. “Even if the decisions made in the summary proceedings suggest that online casino network blocking cannot be enforced on internet access providers, the main proceedings could very well lead to a different outcome,” a GGL spokesperson said.