Gambling and Regulation

German Gambling Regulation (GlüStV) and Tasks of the Joint Gaming Authority of the Federal States (GGL)

The organization, conduct and brokering of public games of chance has developed into an extremely lucrative economic sector, at the latest since the widespread use of the internet. Particularly in order to counteract the emergence of gambling addiction, curb the abuse of public gambling for money laundering purposes, and ensure the protection of minors and players in the context of participation in games of chance, commercial operators in the German gambling market are therefore subject to strict regulation and the obligation to obtain a gambling license for their business operations. The legal basis for this is the German Gambling Regulation (GlüStV) of 2021, which was concluded by the German federal states. The provisions of the German Gambling Regulation apply uniformly throughout Germany. To monitor gambling on the internet and supervise providers operating online, the German states created the Joint Gambling Authority of the States (GGL), based in Halle an der Saale, via the German Gambling Regulation 2021. The core task of the GGL is to monitor and supervise German online gambling. It is responsible for issuing a gambling license as required in individual cases and for supervising legal gambling on the basis of an issued gambling license. The GGL prosecutes illegal gambling that is offered across national borders on the internet without a required gambling license.

Legal gambling on the Internet Requires Gambling License from GGL

According to the German Gambling Regulation 2021, regulated gambling is deemed to exist if, in the course of a game, a fee is charged in exchange for a chance to win and the outcome of the game depends entirely or predominantly on chance. Gambling is considered to be public if a larger, non-defined group of persons can participate in it. In addition, a game of chance may also be deemed to be public if it is habitually organized in closed societies. German gambling regulation recognizes various forms of gambling for which it imposes specific regulatory requirements over and above the general reservation of a gambling license for public gambling. According to the German Gambling Regulation 2021, the granting of a gambling license for the organization or brokerage of games of chance first requires the fulfillment of the general licensing requirements. Providers must then ensure through professional compliance in their company that their activities do not run contrary to the objectives of the German Gambling Regulation. In addition, the persons behind the provider’s company must be disclosed. They and all responsible persons appointed by the provider must be reliable and possess sufficient expertise. Furthermore, the providers must have sufficient capital of their own for permanent business operations and have concluded the necessary insurance policies to protect players.

No Competence of GGL for Gambling License for Online Casino Games

The GGL is not competent to issue gambling licenses for online casino games. The German Gambling Regulation defines these as virtual replicas of bank games on the one hand and live broadcasts of a terrestrial bank game with the possibility of participation via the internet on the other. Such gambling licenses – referred to as concessions in the German Gambling Regulation – are issued by the federal states themselves for their respective territories. However, the issuance of gambling licenses for online casino games is strictly limited. The federal states may only issue the number of gambling licenses that they were permitted to distribute under their national law as of the cut-off date of January 17, 2020. In addition, concessions for online casino games must be limited in time. Even though the GGL is not responsible for granting gambling licenses for online casino games, its tasks nevertheless include the prosecution of unauthorized online gambling. If a gambling offer on the internet therefore qualifies as an online casino game, the GGL can order the cessation of business operations and impose fines on the responsible persons.

The competent lawyer for questions regarding gambling law and the application for a gambling license in our law firm is Attorney Lutz Auffenberg, LL.M (London).