Germany has been going through a sort of crackdown on the online casino industry, which it just recently extended across to encapsulate the country’s football teams. Certain sports betting sponsors have been targeted, with a letter being written by the Ministry of the Interior from the state of Baden-Würtemberg to the German Football Association (DFB). The letter expresses a certain concern over the association’s sponsor, Bwin, which is owned by GVC Holdings, and how it could be providing gambling options to Germany that are considered illegal there.
The letter was given full support from a number of other German states, making reference to the fact that Bwin provides players with the ability to play casino and slot games alongside the sports betting options. In the letter, it was noted that there is no doubt that such options are illegal within Germany, before warning that a change needs to happen. Without such, the risk is that promotion and advertising of Bwin becomes blacklisted.
It leaves the ball in the court of the German authorities. Should they wish to enforce sponsorship views, broadcasters within Germany may end up being prohibited from the possibility of airing football matches that risk displaying the Bwin logo. This could also spread to other online gambling providers, including Tipico, which is the sponsor of Germany’s own Bundesliga.
Where Do Things Proceed from Here?
The Bwin brand has been operating within and has had sponsorship connections to the DFB for three years now, and this period was extended at the beginning of this year until the end of 2022. This ensures advertising rights to various events, including the DFB Cup, the Women’s Bundesliga and the third-tier Liga of the DFB. Borussia Dortmund also utilises Bwin as its individual sponsor.
It was reported last week, that regulatory bodies within Germany’s state telecom had forwarded letters to various television and radio broadcasters, which warned of the illegality of online casino advertisement. Following those warnings, a significant decline in the number of promotions for such via German airwaves was recorded.
As things stand, the 16 separate German state representatives are preparing to sign a new version of the federal gambling treaty, with the warnings to German media coming in synchronicity with such. The revised version of the treaty looks to extend the “toleration” of sports betting, which is currently only temporary, until 2021. After this time period, it is hoped that there will be a more permanent setup brought into effect.
The state of Schleswig-Holstein has been quoted as being willing to sign into the new treaty, as long as it is given permission to renew the 19 online casino licences that it issued back in 2012. The last of these expired earlier in 2019. It is said that the 16 German states are of a similar mindset when it comes to sports betting, but as far as online gambling is concerned, there are very different views being brought into play.